The Port of New York and New Jersey will implement a new container imbalance fee for ocean carriers as part of its effort to aggressively move to handle record cargo volumes spurred by peak cargo season and a cargo shift from the West Coast, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced yesterday.
The container management fee, targeting empty containers being stored in the port for long periods, will be effective as of September 1, pending a mandatory federal 30-day notice period. The fee is intended to reduce the number of excess empty containers dwelling at the port and free up much-needed capacity for containers that are full of imports and ready to be picked up by cargo owners.
The port has been handling a cargo increase of nearly 12% year-to-date compared with the same period last year and of 34% compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.
Under this new fee, which will be assessed on a quarterly basis, ocean carriers’ total outgoing container volume must equal or exceed 110% of their incoming container volume during the same period, or they will be assessed a fee of $100 per container for failing to hit this benchmark. Incoming and outgoing containers include both loaded and empty containers, excluding rail volume.
Fee proceeds will be used to offset the costs of providing additional storage capacity, and other expenses incurred because of the glut of empty containers.
The Port Authority has also repurposed 12 acres within Port Newark and the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal for temporary storage of empty containers and long-dwelling import containers, and is in the process of negotiating or investigating additional storage space.
Further, through much of the pandemic, the port’s terminal operators have offered longer weekday hours and weekend terminal hours to allow additional access to truck operators willing and able to work outside of traditional terminal operating hours.
In accordance with established transparency rules, the Port Authority has published the tariff language detailing the new container imbalance fee on its website for the 30-day public comment period. The fee will be reassessed when the global supply chain crisis eases, with a review no later than September 2023.