In addition to a $45 per day fee for aging containers, the port is also considering an excessive dwell fee to help reduce congestion.
Port Houston plans to implement a container dwell fee starting Dec. 1 as it aims to minimize container dwell time.
Port staff amended two tariffs during an Oct. 27 meeting: a sustained and an excessive dwell fee.
A sustained import dwell fee will apply to all loaded imports with a $45 per day charge beginning on the eighth day after expiration of free time. This fee does not replace any demurrage charges and would address "chronic" long-term dwell.
The port is also adding an excessive dwell fee, which will take effect following a 30-day public comment period and remain in effect for at least 60 days, according to a port spokesperson. The fee will only apply in more "acute" circumstances and no sustained dwell fee will apply while this excessive dwell fee is in effect.
Both fees will apply at the Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminal and would require that the amount of these new fees be paid before a relevant container is released from the terminal.
"We're kinda late to the party here. A lot of the U.S. terminals have already done the same to handle the dwell," Chief Port Operations Officer Jeff Davis said during the meeting.
Port officials began to explore a potential dwell fee in September in response to higher import loads. September marked the second-highest month in container volumes for the port, which led to longer dwell times and congestion.
"The entire first quarter of this year we were at seven or seven and a half days [of dwell]," Davis said during the meeting, adding the port's dwell times historically averaged three and a half days.