LA port officials cut fees for cargo to keep boxes stacked high

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The Los Angeles City Council has approved a discount aimed at keeping cargo moving through the Port of Los Angeles. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports on efforts to keep the port afloat.

The measure allows the port to offer credits to port terminal tenants for the next year. Terminals pay fees for each cargo container that moves off ships and onto rail lines. Amid the global economic downturn, companies have sent fewer cargo boxes through US ports.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor complex has taken some hits, including some double-digit drops in monthly average volume. LA port officials want to boost traffic, so they’ll offer terminals a 10 percent discount on fees for cargo that goes to trucks and railyards. LA City Council members reviewed an economic analysis that shows this will cut about $13 million from revenue in the next year.

But port officials say they’ve done the math, and the discount will cost LA’s harbor less than if traffic continues to dwindle. The city council unanimously passed the measure.