Port Houston pauses container dwell fee


Software developer delays has led to the postponement of Port Houston’s container dwell fee.

The sustained dwell fee for the Port of Houston has been delayed from its original deadline of 1 December, as a result of delays from an external software developer, the port announced 29 November.

According to Lisa Ashley, the Director of Corporate Communications at Port Houston, customers were informed of the delay on 14 November.

Before the fee reapplies, the port will provide customers with a 30-day notice.

Initial consideration of a dwell fee arose in September due to higher import loads which aggravated congestion and caused longer dwell times.

Diversions of cargo linked to the ongoing labour negotiations across West Coast ports has also played a significant hand in contributing to Port Houston’s rising congestion.

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

Port Houston has seen an increase in import volume to 2.9 million tons in October 2022 from to 2.4 million tons at the same time last year.

According to the press release, commodities that have contributed to this increase include bagged goods, plywood, and auto imports.

Following the decision to enforce the dwell fee, port executives created a ‘tier program’ that incorporated two different fees: a sustained dwell fee on all loaded imports that was to go into effect in December, and an excessive dwell fee designated for more acute circumstances.   

According to Ashley, the two separate fees cannot apply in conjunction.

“No sustained dwell fee will apply while an excessive dwell fee is in effect,” Ashley said.

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