The Port of New York and New Jersey has announced that it will charge a new quarterly “container imbalance fee” from ocean carriers as part of the port’s efforts to deal with container congestion.
The port will include both loaded and empty containers while calculating outgoing and incoming container volumes, excluding rail volume. The fee will go into effect on Sept. 1, pending a mandatory federal 30-day notice period.
The decision comes as peak cargo season is approaching and the port is seeing a “cargo shift from the West Coast.” It is handling a cargo increase of almost 12 percent year to date, compared with the year-ago period. When compared with the same period in 2019, prior to the pandemic, cargo volume has risen by 34 percent.
The “container imbalance fee” will affect ocean carriers that do not evacuate empty containers, thereby taking up space for newly arriving containers and thus affecting “overall port productivity and fluidity.”
Proceeds collected from the fees will be used to offset costs of offering additional storage capacity and other related expenses.
Climbing Transportation ChargesPort congestion is also driving up container prices. As more containers remain unloaded and at rest, a false shortage is created as these containers remain out of supply for use. And when the availability of containers tightens, freight rates increase, which acts as an inflationary pressure on consumer goods.
“I think patience is required, not only in terms of understanding how market dynamics constantly develop but certainly also to realize that no two markets are alike.”