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Los Angeles port starts FINING shipping lines for $100 a day per container for abandoning empties


Cargo thefts along the West Coast – home to the nation’s largest ports – have jumped 42 percent since last year. 

The correlation between the California ports’ logjam and crime rise came was hardly a shock to crime and theft specialist Scott Cornell.

‘The more that the supply chain in general is backed up, the more cargo you’re going to have sitting and that creates a bigger opportunity for thefts,’ crime and theft specialist at insurance company Travelers Scott Cornell, told CBS MoneyWatch

More than $5million in consumer goods were stolen in California during the third-quarter of 2021, according to cargo theft recovery and prevention network CargoNet – another blow to the state’s beleaguered ports. 

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which move about 40 percent of shipped cargo entering the U.S., are struggling with an unprecedented backlog that’s slowing the nation’s overall supply chain ahead of the holidays.

There were 73 container ships at anchor Monday, and 29 container ships at berth.

The backlog is exacerbated by thousands of empty shipping containers sitting on the ports, creating a logistical nightmare for truckers trying to move product.  

Meanwhile, ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach have fired a warning shot against shippers letting their empty containers linger on docks too long, saying they could soon charge up to $35,000 per month – per unit – for abandoned boxes.

More than $5 million in consumer goods was stolen in California during the third-quarter, according to cargo theft recovery and prevention network CargoNet 

It's another blow for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are struggling with an unprecedented backlog that’s slowing the nation’s overall supply chain ahead of the holidays

It’s another blow for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are struggling with an unprecedented backlog that’s slowing the nation’s overall supply chain ahead of the holidays

California was the state most targeted by freight thieves during the third-quarter, CargoNet said in its most recent supply chain analysis.

While theft and fraud cases throughout the U.S. and Canada declined overall year-over-year, a 42 percent uptick in thefts was observed on the West Coast.

California has been leading the nation in cargo thefts for the entire year, having reported 208 cases of freight looting through September 30.

‘This comes as no surprise, as California continues to struggle with frequent thefts of high-end computer electronics shipments,’ CargoNet said in a statement.

‘…Cargo thieves continued to show a strong preference for computer electronics shipments and nearly 70 percent of these thefts in the third quarter of 2021 occurred in California.’

Texas had the second-highest rate of cargo thieves this year with 162 cases reported during the year’s first nine months. Florida recorded 117 cases  

California led the nation in cargo thefts in a trend largely driven by demand for electronics

California led the nation in cargo thefts in a trend largely driven by demand for electronics

California reported 208 cargo thefts during the first nine months of 2021, handily outpacing other states such as Texas, Florida, and Illinois

California reported 208 cargo thefts during the first nine months of 2021, handily outpacing other states such as Texas, Florida, and Illinois

Electronics accounted for 49 percent of California’s stolen goods, and household items accounted for an additional 15 percent in lifted loot, CargoNet said in its third-quarter report. 

Other popular items among criminals included clothes, accessories, food and drinks.

Thieves most frequently made their moves at warehouses (27 percent), secured yards (15 percent) and roadsides (13 percent).

California cargo haulers reported 62 thefts during the third quarter at an average loss of $233,000 per crime, CargoNet said. 

About $5.28 million in consumer goods was stolen during the timeframe.

The LA and Long Beach ports – collectively known as the San Pedro Bay port complex – were initially set to begin billing carriers Monday for empty containers that have overstayed their welcome

The mass congestion of vacant units is monopolizing space in nearby truck lots, blocking filled containers from getting moved, and crippling efficiency. 

But executives voted last Friday to delay issuing fines until at least November 15 while they assess the situation.

Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said authorities tried getting shippers to voluntarily comply with removing empty containers before resorting to a fine system

Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said authorities tried getting shippers to voluntarily comply with removing empty containers before resorting to a fine system

If the fee structure is implemented, it would bring $100 per container, per day charges for containers moving by truck or ship that have been dwelling nine days or more.

Containers continuing their journey by rail have six days to get off the terminal.

The fine system is incremental, rising $100 each day, meaning a carrier would be charged about $45,000 for letting a container sit a month beyond deadline.

Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director, said authorities tried enticing shippers with the carrot before turning to the stick.

‘We’ve tried diplomacy,’ he told CNBC Tuesday. ‘We’ve tried collaboration, operations meetings all around, and nothing has moved the needle just yet. This is a last resort and one I didn’t want to have to take, but we’re starting to see movement.’

About 40 percent of import containers on terminals have been idling for at least nine days, the Port of Long Beach said in a press release.

Before consumer demand exploded in mid-2020, containers would typically sit at terminals for less than four days.

Any money collected from the fees will be put toward programs to help the port work more efficiently and address congestion impacts, the press release said.

‘Our objective with this program is not to generate revenue,’ said Los Angeles Harbor Commission president Jaime Lee. ‘Instead, we need our supply chain partners to make operational changes that will reduce dwell times, clear our terminals and make room for the ships waiting to enter our port.’ 

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg (right) told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace (left) that supply chain challenges will continue until the COVID-19 pandemic ends

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg (right) told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace (left) that supply chain challenges will continue until the COVID-19 pandemic ends

Nearly empty shelves at New York City pharmacy and convenience store are seen October 26

Nearly empty shelves at New York City pharmacy and convenience store are seen October 26

There were 73 container ships at anchor in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports Monday

There were 73 container ships at anchor in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports Monday

Transport secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that the supply chain crisis will continue at least until the COVID-19 pandemic ends amid fears of shortages ahead of the winter holidays.

‘There are definitely going to continue to be issues, especially as long as the pandemic continues,’ Buttigieg told Fox News Sunday

‘If you have, for example, the third-largest container port in the world in China shutting down because of a COVID outbreak in late summer you’ll feel that in the fall here on the West coast.’

He said that while politicians, the ports, and industry executives are taking all the necessary steps to combat the supply crisis, catching up with the backlog will take time – particularly as consumer appetite for imported products grows.

‘…If we really want to see all of these disruptions end, we’ve got to end the pandemic, he said. That’s what getting everybody vaccinated is all about.’ 



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