Empty containers to attract a fine at Unites States’ Los Angeles Port starting January 30th

Starting the end of next month, empty containers stationed at the Los Angeles Port docks will attract a fee from the ocean carriers. The port of Los Angeles is United States’ largest port for container traffic and ocean carriers that fail to clear the empty containers off the port will have to bear a fine come 30th January.

The port will charge USD 100 per day to the carriers for each empty container which has been stationed at the dock for more than 9 days. Each day the fine will increase by USD 100 until the container exits the dock. The fee, though, is subject to approval by the Los Angeles Harbour Commission’s board meeting scheduled for 13th January. A similar warning was issued on October 25th by the neighboring Long Beach Port too.

While we have seen significant success reducing import containers on our docks the past two months, too many empty containers are currently sitting on marine terminals. Just like the import dwell fee, the objective with this empty container program is not to collect fees but to free up valuable space on our docks, clearing the way for more ships and improving fluidity.”

Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles

While the charge hasn’t been implemented yet by the ports, the carriers have been intimidated by the alleged fine, and the number of empty containers docked at the ports have reduced by more than a half since October. Any fees collected from dwelling cargo will be reinvested for programs designed to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity and address congestion impacts.

The shortage of goods and inflation of container prices witnessed in the past year were a result of the build-up of cargo at the US ports. Strained supply chains have become an economic drag on the world’s largest economy and a political risk for President Joe Biden as the disruptions put upward pressure on inflation.

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