US Transportation Secretary Buttigieg visiting ports of LA, Long Beach Tuesday

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will visit the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Tuesday to discuss ways to alleviate the backlog, a day after the ports announced that implementation of its fee on companies whose import containers linger at marine terminals will be delayed again.

Buttigieg and other members of Congress will meet with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to discuss things like a recent grant for the Port of Long Beach, progress on alleviating port congestion, and more.

The Container Dwell Fee, which was proposed Oct. 25, has been delayed numerous times due to progress in reducing the number of port containers at the terminals — with the ports reporting Monday a 45% combined decline in aging cargo on the docks since the fee was announced.

Over the next week, port officials will monitor and reassess the fee's implementation.

"There's been significant improvement in clearing import containers from our docks in recent weeks," Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said Nov. 15, when the fee was first delayed.

The fee was also delayed on Nov. 22, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, Dec. 20, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.

"I'm grateful to the many nodes of the supply chain, from shipping lines, marine terminals, trucks and cargo owners, for their increased collaborative efforts," Seroka added.

RELATED: Ports again delay fines for idling containers

The fee is one of several efforts aimed at speeding the processing of cargo at the San Pedro Port Complex to eliminate a backlog of ships trying to deliver merchandise. Port of Los Angeles officials said when the policy was announced that about 40% of import containers were idling at terminals for at least nine days.

Harbor commissions for both Long Beach and Los Angeles unanimously approved the policy on Oct. 29, to be in effect for 90 days.

The fines, if implemented, will begin at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day. Containers set to be transported by truck will incur fines if they remain at the port for nine days or more. For rail containers, fines will be assessed if they are at the port for three days or more.

RELATED: Los Angeles, Long Beach ports will issue fines for backlogged cargo

Fees collected from the policy will be reinvested into programs that aim to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity and address congestion impacts.

The policy to implement fees was developed in coordination with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of Long Beach and supply chain stakeholders.

On Dec. 30, the Port of Los Angeles announced an additional planned fee on carriers with empty containers that linger for at least nine days on marine terminals. That fee needs to be approved by the Los Angeles Harbor Commission and would take effect on Jan. 30.

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