Port Congestion Surcharge In Effect

Ships Off Long Beach

Ships anchored off of Long Beach, CA waiting to unload (Source: L.A. Times)

Due to ongoing port congestion issues on the West Coast, particularly the Ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach, ocean carriers are now implementing a Port Congestion Surcharge on all imports.  This surcharge is effective immediately. Please see a recent L.A. Times article relating to this matter, if you are unfamiliar with the situation.

Per tariff filings with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the Port Congestion Surcharge will be $1,000 per FEU, “effective for all import cargo discharging at U.S. West Coast ports on or after November 17.”

An “FEU” is ocean-speak for a full, 40′ container.

Surcharges are as follows:

  • $800 per 20′
  • $1,000 per 40′
  • $1,125 per 40’HC
  • $1,266 per 45’HC

All carriers including, but not limited to, Hanjin, CMA CGM, Hyundai, Yang Ming, Evergreen and NYK are putting this surcharge in effect. Some of these surcharges were filed with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) as far back as two years ago in case of any severe service disruptions along the East, West Coast or Gulf Coast ports.

Here are links to a few official carrier announcements:

This unprecedented decision by carriers stems from carrier argument that they are incurring huge operating losses while their ships sit idly, anchored offshore waiting to be unloaded. In some cases, the delay to be unloaded has recently been 7-10 days in some cases.

In response, some carriers have even been cancelling sailings and/or re-routing vessels to alternate ports.

As if things weren’t tough enough on importers, there is now also a strong possibility of some type of a work stoppage in the near future by the ILWU (longshoreman’s union), as their contract negotiations from this past summer appear to have stalled and reached a critical juncture.

We understand how this major event affects your cost of doing business. It affects us adversely as well..

We will continue to monitor this situation very closely. Any mitigation of this surcharge will immediately be passed on to you.

Note that there is a similar, though much small surcharge in place on exports as well.

Have questions or need to know more? Please contact a Customer Service Representative for more information. We’re here to help.

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