Long Beach Considering Reduction in Container Free Time
To increase velocity of cargo moving out of the Port of Long Beach, officials say they will consider a recommendation from port staff to cut the amount of time import containers can be stored on docks without charge.
For the last ten years, the containers have been allowed to remain on the dock for a free time period of four days, beyond which terminals are charged storage fees.
The proposal under consideration would reportedly reduce the current free-time period to six shifts—the equivalent of as few as three days “to encourage terminals to more consistently operate at night, moving imports off the docks faster.”
“With bigger ships regularly calling the port, more containers sit at terminals, inhibiting the ability of workers to deliver containers quickly and efficiently,” the port said
When containers stack up in terminals, said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup, “it leads to extra handling that makes the process slower for longshore workers, the shippers that depend on them, truckers who move the goods, and ultimately the consumer.”
The new approach, he said, “will keep the system more fluid and help avoid congestion.”
In the coming weeks, he added, port staff will work with all stakeholders to develop a “final flexible free-time proposal” for the port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners to study.
“Truckers have told us their containers are not always accessible because of fewer evening shifts, and terminal operators want to clear space in their yards while giving their customers enough time to get their cargo,” said Port of Long Beach Chief Commercial Officer Dr. Noel Hacegaba.