LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Los Angeles Harbor Commission Thursday extended the Port of Los Angeles' ability to fine companies whose import containers linger at marine terminals, but the fee has not yet been implemented due to progress at the port.

The Container Dwell Fee was approved on Oct. 29 and was set to expire after 90 days. The Harbor Commission's 5-0 vote Thursday extended the program through April 29. The fee's implementation has been delayed numerous times due to progress in reducing the number of port containers at the terminals.

"Since the announcement of the fee in October, import cargo lingering nine days or more has declined by 60% at the Port of Los Angeles," Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. "We're very pleased with the progress, which is why the fee has not been enacted. Data will continue to be monitored daily as we work with our partners to find further efficiencies."

The fee is one of several efforts aimed at speeding the processing of cargo at the San Pedro Port Complex to eliminate a backlog of ships trying to deliver merchandise. Port of Los Angeles officials said when the policy was announced that about 40% of import containers were idling at terminals for at least nine days.

The fines, if implemented, will begin at $100 per container, increasing by $100 per container each day. Containers set to be transported by truck will incur fines if they remain at the port for nine days or more. The commission on Thursday also modified the fee to fine companies with containers bound for rail after nine days, up from the previous six.

Fees collected from the policy will be reinvested into programs that aim to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity and address congestion impacts.

The Harbor Commission is also considering a similar fee on empty containers, which it heard a presentation about on Thursday. The commission did not take a vote on that fee.

The policy to implement fees was developed in coordination with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of Long Beach and supply chain stakeholders.