- The Port of New York and New Jersey’s updated container dwell fee went into effect on Saturday, mandating carriers to balance their inbound and outbound container volumes, according to a port blog post.
- The updated language is opposed to the port’s original tariff, which required ocean carriers to remove 10% more empty containers than their import quarterly total. Some carriers had expressed concern they would have to import more empties to meet the quota.
- Ocean carriers will be charged on a quarterly basis, with the first bill coming in December.
Ocean carriers had expressed concerns regarding the equity of the original fee structure, according to a spokesperson from the port. Previously, smaller carriers said they would not be able to clear 110% of their empty containers.
The concern was one of several raised by carriers during a 30-day public comment period when the dwell fee was announced in August. The port had delayed implementation of the dwell fee, which was supposed to go into effect Sept. 1, to respond to stakeholder responses.
With the updated tariff, an algorithm will tailor the fee to each carrier. At the end of each quarter, carriers will be billed $100 per container for any empty units that are in excess of its import and export balance, according to the port spokesperson.
Carriers will also now be required to clear an increasing portion of their excess empty containers. In Q1 of next year, carriers must clear 25% of their excess empties, with an additional 25% increase each quarter throughout the year. By the end of next year, all empty containers should be cleared, the spokesperson said.
Since the dwell fee was announced in August, the port has seen a 10.5% decline in aging containers. More shippers have called on the port to avoid West Coast congestion, and more than 200,000 empty containers have accumulated on docks since the start of this year.
Carriers have been sending sweeper vessels to collect empty containers, and at least 10 are scheduled to visit the port in October, according to the blog post.
“We’re extremely grateful that the ocean carriers recognized the need for their cooperation and stepped up to remove empties while they worked with us on the revised tariff structure,” Bethann Rooney, deputy director of the port department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said in the post. “We continue to call on them to do more because we are still moving new monthly record volumes of cargo even after 25 straight months of record highs.”