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Port of Tacoma Terminal Imposes ‘Long Stay’ Charge for Lingering Import Containers

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1900
November 8, 2021

A private container terminal at Washington’s Port of Tacoma has started charging an extended dwell time fee for containers lingering in the terminal.

The fee was announced by Husky Terminal & Stevedoring Inc. which operates the Husky Terminal at the Port of Tacoma, 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 November 1, import containers lingering at the terminal for more than 15 calendar days on the terminal will be charged a one-time $315 “Long Stay Rehandling Charge” prior to their release.

The new fee comes as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two busiest containers terminals in the country, are set to begin imposing a similar but far steeper penalty for lingering containers at marine terminals.

Under a new policy unanimously approved by the ports’ harbor commissions, ocean carriers will be charged a daily compounding fee for all import containers starting at $100 and increasing in $100 increments for containers staying at marine terminals longer 6 days or more for rail bound containers and 9 days or more for containers moving by truck. The policy was approved to begin November 1, but the fee will not be assessed until November 15.

Considering more than 36,000 import containers (among more than 81,000 currently at terminals) were lingering for 9 or more days at Port of Los Angeles terminals (as of Nov. 5), the charges appear likely to significantly increase shipping costs for tens of thousands of import containers ahead of the holidays.

At the considerably smaller Port of Tacoma, only containers coming from the Seaspan Amazon will face the “long stay” charge, according to Husky. It did not say how many containers this amounts to. Also, unlike the LA/LB fees which are assessed to ocean carriers, it appears that Husky’s flat fee will be assessed to cargo owners with payment required via online or the Cargo sprint portal prior to the release of containers.

In announcing the new charge, Husky had this to say:

“Over the past several months local import dwell on the terminal has grown exponentially despite our numbers remaining similar to our 2020 volumes. Husky Terminal has taken numerous actions to mitigate the surge in dwell to reduce rehandling and keep the terminal fluid. Two (2) additional RTG’s are now in operation, expanding our daily local delivery capability. Saturday gates have continued to be offered each and every week since August. Despite our best efforts, the overall number of high dwelling units continues to increase along with overall duration of stay. Regrettably the deterioration in import velocity has directly impacted yard fluidity, forcing the terminal to perform multiple rehandles of the same units over an extended period. Therefore, the following action is being implemented in an effort to encourage improved velocity…”

“Husky Terminal strongly urges our customers to target picking up high dwelling units from Husky during the rest 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.”

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