Port of Tacoma imposes charges on straggling import containers

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A private container terminal at the Port of Tacoma, Washington, has begun charging a long-stay fee on containers that remain at the terminal.

The fee was announced by Husky Terminal & Stevedoring Inc, which operates the Port of Tacoma’s Husky Terminal, one of the port’s largest and most advanced terminals, whose customers include Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, Ocean Network Express (ONE), Yang Ming Line and ZIM. Under the new policy, which began Nov. 1, import containers held at the terminal for more than 15 calendar days will be charged a one-time “long-stay re-handling fee” of $315 prior to release.

The new fee comes as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s two busiest container terminals, are to begin imposing a similar, but much higher, penalty on containers that remain at the marine terminals.

Under a new policy unanimously approved by the ports’ port commissions, ocean carriers will have to pay a daily composite fee for all import containers, starting at $100 and increasing in $100 increments for containers that remain at marine terminals for more than 6 days for rail-bound containers and 9 days for containers moving by truck. The policy was approved to begin on November 1, but the fee will not be implemented until November 15.

Considering that more than 36,000 import containers (among the more than 81,000 currently in terminals) had been at Port of Los Angeles terminals for 9 or more days, it seems likely that the fees will significantly increase shipping costs for tens of thousands of import containers before the holidays.

At the considerably smaller Port of Tacoma, only containers from Seaspan Amazon will face the “long-stay” charge, according to Husky. He did not say how many containers this amounts to. In addition, unlike the LA/LB fees charged to ocean carriers, it appears Husky’s flat fee will be charged to cargo owners and payment will be required via the Internet or the Cargo sprint portal prior to container release.

In announcing the new charge, Husky said the following.

“In recent months, the number of local imports at the terminal has grown exponentially despite our numbers remaining similar to 2020 volumes. Husky Terminal has taken numerous steps to mitigate the increased dwell to reduce re-handling and keep the terminal flowing. Two (2) additional RTGs are now operational, expanding our daily local delivery capacity. Saturday gateways have continued to be offered every week since August. Despite our efforts, the total number of high housing units continues to increase along with the total length of stay. Unfortunately, the deteriorating import velocity has had a direct impact on yard fluidity, forcing the terminal to make multiple deliveries of the same units over an extended period. Therefore, the following action is being implemented in an effort to encourage speed improvement…”

“Husky Terminal strongly urges our customers to drive to pick up Husky’s high dwell units during the remainder of October to avoid the additional fee. As a reminder, Saturday gates will continue to be offered and are a great option for the community. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

Source gCaptain

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