Container 'free' time trimmed at Port of Long Beach

| Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Containers are stacking up on the docks and congestion at the terminals is on the rise at the Port of Long Beach.

To “solve” the problem, Monday, May 16, a committee of the Harbor Commission recommended trimming the amount of “free” time truckers have to pick up and drop off containers before the port starts charging them fees.

Currently, container owners have five days to pick up loaded boxes. Containers for export cannot be dropped off more than seven days early. Pick-ups and deliveries outside the five- and seven-day windows are assessed late fee penalties – which start at $60 per container – by the port terminal operators.

That is until the Harbor Commission reduced the allowed pick-up and delivery windows.

The commission voted to cut the free time down to four days to pick up and six days early to drop off, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Stephanie Williams, vice president of the California Trucking Association, told the Press Telegram that the association will seek a state legislative hearing on the port’s decision.

She pointed out that congestion at the ports is caused by the lack of a standard turn time by the terminals – not the truckers.

“If they can’t agree to turn times, we can’t agree to their taxes,” Williams told the Press Telegram. “Turn time or pay a fine. That’s what they can expect from us.”

The full Harbor Commission is scheduled to vote on the committee’s recommendation May 31.

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