LA & LB: Anchored 72 | Terminal 31
Oakland: Anchored 4 | Terminal 6 | Drifting 3
NWSA: Anchored (nil) | Terminal 7 | Drifting 7
Vessel Congestion Update
On November 30, 2021, the Marine Exchange of Southern California reported a total of 134 vessels at the port complex of Los Angeles (LA) and Long Beach (LB), which is down from last week’s total of 179 vessels. Of the 134 vessels, 72 are container vessels with 28 at berth/terminal and 44 at anchorage or drift. This week, container vessels are waiting for an average of 20.8 to 22.7 days to reach a terminal to unload the containers, which represents an increase from last week’s reported 16.2-17.7 days.
Status of San Pedro Bay Container Dwell Time Fee-Again Postponed
On November 29, 2021, a joint port press release indicated this is the 4th consecutive time to delay the container fee. The decision to delay the fee once again, which port officials have indicated is not meant to be punitive, was made in collaboration with U.S. Port Envoy John Porcari, ocean liner companies, and marine terminal operators. Executive Port Director of Long Beach, Mario Cordero, stated in part, “We don’t want to make it look as if the crisis is over but think after the first of the year, we’ll see some mitigating factors and fewer ship arrivals.” Since the fee was announced on October 25, the port complex has seen a decline of 37% combined in aging cargo on the docks. The executive directors of both ports will reassess fee implementation after another week of data monitoring.
Thinking Out of the “Big Box”
A large box chain shipper turned an empty lot into a pop-up container yard as it hurried to move their containers off terminals to avoid the dwell fee and combat the supply-chain crisis. Using an empty lot to process over 500 shipping containers per day, this retailer is one of many who have created pop-up facilities to address backlogs at the U.S. ports, which in turn has allowed them to sort and prioritize the distribution of their goods.
Port of Seattle – Terminal SSA Marine
Effective December 1, 2021, SSA Marine, a marine terminal operator, announced it will levy a fee on import containers that have exceeded 5 calendar days on their terminals (no charges for free time up to 5 days after a container is available for delivery). The extended dwell time fee will cover containers for Terminals 18, 5, 30 in Seattle. They have determined that the importer of record, indicated on the shipping documents, will be responsible for paying or arranging payment of the extended dwell time fee. Once the fee has been paid, the container will show as available in the operator’s container tracking system. Appointments on import lanes may not be made until the fee has been paid and the container is showing as available on the “forecast website.”
Carrier CMA-CGM Implements Incentive Program to Ease Congestion at LA-LB Ports
As of December 1, 2021, CMA-CGM Group plans to offer incentives to importers to pick up their containers from terminals at the ports of LA and LB within 8 days of their arrival. The early container pickup incentive program will run for 90 days and is intended to help improve fluidity at the twin ports. Shippers who pick up their containers within the eight-day window will receive $100 per container for daytime pickups and $200 per container for night and weekend pickups. The company anticipates it could pay out more than $22 million for the program’s 90-day period.
U.S. Senate Letter to Federal Maritime Commissioner (FMC)
On November 19th, over a dozen U.S. Senators, on behalf of constituents, wrote to Chairman Maffei, FMC to complain regarding pending fee assessments of aging dock container dwell fees. The Senators state the fees as being unreasonable, as the fee contradicts the mission of being a reasonable practice as cited in 46 CFR ~545.5. The dwell fee does not meet the intended provision, which is to promote freight fluidity and therefore cannot be legally assessed.
Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) Comments
John McKenna, PMA President, who represents ocean carriers and terminal operations was recently quoted, as the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) contract is set to expire July 1, 2022. “Given the bargaining history over the past 20 years, there is a perception among the trade community that negotiations are likely to result in some kind of disruption.” The current contract was signed in 2015 and next year’s talks are expected to be tense, with terminal automation topping the list of issues. Past negotiations have seen work slowdowns, isolated job actions, and, in 2002, a lockout by employers, which put workers outside the ports for 10 days, leading to picket lines, demonstrations, and backed-up ships throughout the San Pedro Bay.
Please contact your Western Overseas representative with any questions.