LA Harbor Commission approves new fees for slow container movement

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Port officials are shocked at the record-breaking number of ships sitting at anchor at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Upwards of 80 ships stacked like rush hour gridlock traffic in L.A. are waiting to offload containers.

On Friday, the L.A. Harbor Commission voted unanimously to put pressure on carriers to speed up the pace moving containers off the docks, making room to offload ships.

"In the case of containers scheduled to move by truck, ocean carriers will be charged for every container dwelling nine days or more," the Port of L.A. said in a statement. "For containers moving by rail, ocean carriers will be charged if a container has dwelled for six days or more.

"The Port will charge ocean carriers in these two categories $100 per container, increasing in $100 increments per container per day until the container leaves the terminal."

This new policy kicks in Monday.

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Prices are jumping in large part because container ships are stranded at ports and because unloaded goods are waiting for trucks, leading to mass shortages and delays.

Ramon Ponce de Leon, longshoreman and president of ILWU Local 13, says prior to COVID, longshoreman at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach were moving 1.2 million containers a month.

Today, he says with manpower working around the clock, they're moving nearly 2 million containers per month.

The ports account for approximately 40% of the nation's imports.

Ponce de Leon says longshoreman are breaking records moving containers.

As UNICEF projects a global shortage of up to 2.2 billion syringes due to supply chain issues, Ponce de Leon says the longshoreman will work even harder to get those containers moved off ships to get more people vaccinated.

To further ease the burden at the ports, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a strategic partnership to help facilitate innovative projects and financing opportunities for multi-billion dollar infrastructure improvements in California.

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