Operations at the Port of Baltimore have raised the ire of at least one user, Medima. The company wrote Ports America, the owner of the port, saying:
“Dear Sir/Madam – we are writing to express our extreme frustration with the congestion at your terminal, and the significant additional costs the import community is suffering as a result.
I was just notified today by numerous carriers that, due to port congestion and LONG WAIT TIMES for container pickups, they are now assessing a $125.00 port congestion fee for any container waiting over one hour at Seagirt.
Drivers are typically sitting in the port for over 3 hours on almost every container. Some are sitting for 4-5 hours. Summary: I will be assessed $125.00 fee on every container I have coming in, because none can be picked up within 1 hour and this has been the case for most of 2018.
Note 1: The carriers already raised our dray rates earlier this spring because of these problems. Now they have added the $125.00 port congestion fee on top of the recent rate increase.
Note 2: Numerous containers in the past several weeks have gone “missing” (cannot be located by your operations people). Our carriers are frustrated, because they make the trip over, then are told by your port office that they do not show location available. Essentially they are being turned away with a shrug and a head shake, no one seems to know how to locate these containers, nor do they seem to be interested in helping these drivers avoid a wasted trip.
This is unacceptable, and we need a resolution soon.
Our purchasing department has been instructed to avoid Baltimore when importing new material wherever possible. Unfortunately, this is inconvenient, and may not be possible in some cases due to this port’s proximity to some of our customers. We should not have to change our business model because your port operations are in disarray.”