Port Houston pauses container dwell fee

Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022
Source: Supply Chain Dive

Port Houston will postpone its sustained dwell fee, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 1, due to delays from the port’s external software developer, the port confirmed Tuesday.

Customers were notified on Nov. 14 of the postponement, Lisa Ashley, Port Houston’s director of media relations, said in an email. The port will send customers a 30-day notice before the fee enters into effect again.

Port officials began to explore a potential dwell fee in September in response to higher import loads, which contributed to longer dwell times and congestion.

When port executives approved the implementation of a container dwell fee, they created a “tier program.” involving two types of fees: a sustained dwell fee on all loaded imports, which was set to take place in December; and an excessive dwell fee, which would be only be implemented under acute circumstances.

“Only one fee would be executed at any given time. No sustained dwell fee will apply while an excessive dwell fee is in effect,” Ashley said.

Rising congestion at Port Houston has partly come as a result of shippers diverting cargo as labor negotiations looms over West Coast ports.

“Although the import demand in the U.S. appears to be softening, we have not seen any slowing in Houston in recent months,” Executive Director Roger Guenther said in an October press release.

Import volumes at Port Houston were 2.9 million tons in October 2022, compared to 2.4 million tons at the same time last year. Commodities that have seen an uptick in volumes at the port include bagged goods, plywood and auto imports, according to the press release.


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