Port of Houston Planning to Charge New Dwell Fees for Imports


A new dwell fee is coming to importers utilizing the Port of Houston.

The Port of Houston has announced that the port will apply a $45 per day “Sustained Import Dwell Fee” for shippers. The fee will be implemented to all cargo on the 8th day of dwelling, which is the expiration of free time. Make no mistake, the fee will not be replacing demurrage charges incurred, but will be an addition for loaded import containers. It will be assessed directly to BCOs (Beneficial Cargo Owners). The goal is to have boxes moving quicker to avoid congestion.

“It wasn’t sustained, but we had times where we had loaded containers sitting in our yard for 10 days. Our capacity in the first quarter this year, we were (averaging) seven days of dwell time, which is double our historical average”, said Jeff Davis, Chief of Port Operations during the Oct. 27 port authority commission meeting.

A second dwell fee at the Port of Houston is being considered, too.

Nothing is concrete yet, but the Port of Houston is also considering implementing as an additional measure another fee called the “Excessive Import Dwell Fee”, should it be needed. The “Sustained Import Dwell Fee” will not continue to accrue during the period that the “Excessive Import Dwell Fee” starts accruing.

The additional “Excessive Import Dwell Fee” would accrue as follows:

  • $50 per unit per day for 1-3 days after free time
  • $75 per unit per day for 4-7 after
  • $100 per unit per day for 8-13 days after, and
  • $150 per unit per day for 14 or more days after free time.

As a snowball effect, containers sitting around at import yard not only affect importers but also affect roads full of exporters that are trying to secure an empty container.

You can tell that the Port of Houston is not happy with containers that linger but the question is, will these implementations actually work and help reduce congestion that has been going on for too long now at Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminal?