Port of Oakland Container Fees Face Setback

The plan to charge for loading and unloading containers during busy periods may be pushed back

Wall Street Journal

Sept. 2, 2015—A Port of Oakland proposal to charge fees on container cargo during peak times will likely be delayed after federal regulators said they needed more information to ensure the plan wouldn’t unreasonably raise costs for importers and exporters, or reduce the port’s efficiency.

The Federal Maritime Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to issue the request to the five marine terminal operating companies at the Port of Oakland who proposed the fees as a way to reduce congestion during peak hours. Under the plan, dubbed OakPass, the funds generated would pay for terminals to operate an additional shift on Saturdays.

In a statement, the FMC said it had concerns about the OakPass program, “based on an initial review and comments received from various stakeholders who would be impacted by the program.” Importers, exporters and transportation industry groups expressed their frustration with the way the plan was introduced in letters filed to the FMC last month. Many complained that the proposal was put forth with minimal details and without first consulting the industries that would be directly affected.

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