What is a Pier Pass Fee?

Do you ever feel like forecasting your freight bill is unpredictable? Like you can’t quite get a grasp on how much you’re going to be charged just due to the sheer number of variables involved? While some of the larger line items on a freight bill may remain relatively similar all year round, it often seems like so much of the fluctuation in numbers on your freight bill is due to an accumulation of small fees or because you’re a victim of Price Creep.

If you’ve ever seen Pier Pass Fees on your freight bill, it may have caught you off guard. For those of you who are new to the topic, here is a high-level overview:

Pier Pass Fee

Pier Pass Fees are relatively insignificant when it comes to overall shipping costs, but are nevertheless confusing. If you’re seeing a Pier Pass Fee on your freight bill for the first time, here’s what it is:


A Pier Pass Fee is an additional fixed fee that is charged per container for cargo that moves at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

So, if you’re encountering a Pier Pass Fee for the first time on your freight bill, chances are it’s you’re first time shipping through those ports!

How Much Are Pier Pass Fees?

Pier Pass Fees are incredibly cheap. While the number fluctuates from time to time, it is currently sitting at $33.47 per TEU, or $66.94 for all other containers. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not so bad.

Keep in mind that the Pier Pass Fees are charged regardless of when the cargo moves. They apply to both daytime and nighttime container moves, so if you are planning to do any international shipping via the LA or Long Beach ports, expect a Pier Pass Fee to end up on your freight bill.

Questions About Hidden Costs and Other Fees?

One of the biggest reasons we hear shippers switch freight forwarders is over hidden costs and unexpected fees. Of course, most of these fees (like the Pier Pass Fee) are uncontrollable and not the fault of the freight forwarder. However, it is the fault of a freight forwarder if they fail to properly communicate to you what your cargo is going to cost you. They have a wholistic view of the transportation process and understand what it will cost you in the end. You need a freight forwarder who is open, honest, and transparent about pricing, as well as a forwarder who works with you to get your freight costs where they need to be.

If you are finding that you’re a victim of price creep from your freight forwarder, or are simply frustrated with a lack of communication and accountability, it’s time to start a conversation. If you have absolutely any questions – whether they be about Pier Pass Fees, hidden costs, communication, or any other related topics, please don’t hesitate to just reach out to one of our team members. Our team is incredibly experienced and we would love the opportunity to help answer your questions to better equip you and your team to handle your international and domestic shipping appropriately.


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