Tuesday, November 24, 2015

POLB Modifying Storage Fee Policy

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach revealed Nov. 20 that in order to increase the speed of cargo moving out of its terminals, it is considering reducing the amount of time import containers can be stored for free on the docks.

Since 2005, the length of time containers can stay on the dock – known as “free time” – has been four days. Beyond that, terminals are charged storage fees. Port officials are proposing changing free time to six shifts – the equivalent of as few as three days – in order to encourage terminals to more consistently operate at night and move imports off the docks faster.

With larger vessels calling on the port regularly, there are more containers at terminals, which inhibits the ability of workers to deliver containers quickly and efficiently.

“Truckers have told us their containers are not always accessible because of fewer evening shifts, and terminal operators want to clear space in their yards while giving their customers enough time to get their cargo,” Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial Officer Dr. Noel Hacegaba explained.

The port says that in the coming weeks, staff will work with all stakeholders to develop a final plan that will be proposed to the Board of Harbor Commissioners for consideration.

“When containers stack up in terminals, it leads to extra handling that makes the process slower for longshore workers, the shippers that depend on them, truckers who move the goods, and ultimately the consumer,” Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup said. “This approach will keep the system more fluid and help avoid congestion.”