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Port Houston moving forward with container dwell fees after delay

After two months of delays, Port Houston will begin implementing dwell fees at its two container terminals starting Feb. 1.

The fees are aimed at shipping companies that allow their containers to stay too long at the Texas port’s crowded marine facilities and keep goods moving efficiently to the consumers in the region, authorities said.

“The sustained import dwell fee is intended to minimize long-term storage of containers on the terminals and promote fluidity of cargo movement,” Roger Guenther, the port’s executive director, said in a statement. “We’ve seen during the recent increase in demand that containers sitting on terminals for an extended period of time are a challenge.”

The port initially planned to begin enforcing dwell fees Dec. 1 but had to complete necessary “software upgrades” in order to move forward, according to a news release.

Containers left to dwell at the port’s Bayport and Barbours Cut terminals will start accruing fees beginning on the eighth day after the expiration of free time. Shippers will be on the hook for $45 per container, per day. 

The dwell fee comes in addition to the demurrage charges for loaded import containers. Containers that accrue dwell fees will be on hold until cargo owners reconcile all fines.

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