Cargo Dwell Times Fall at LA, Long Beach Ports

Containerized cargo at the LA-Long Beach port complex. File photo.

The number of cargo containers lingering at the Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports fell in December, continuing the recent monthly downward trend of aging cargo on the docks, according to data released Jan. 24 by Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

This news comes after 25 months of congestion that peaked this time a year ago, when 109 ships were at anchor waiting for berths at the Southern California ports, PMSA said.

In December, the average dwell time truck-bound containers stayed before departure was 2.6 days, the lowest since June 2020. Also, 6.7% of containers stayed at terminals longer than five days.

Meanwhile, the average dwell time for containers leaving via rail in December was 4.9 days, a big reduction from the previous month, according to PMSA.

The dwell times showed so much improvement that Los Angeles and Long Beach announced that the “Container Dwell Fee,” which would have charged ocean carriers on imports staying on the docks past nine days, ended Jan. 24.

“On a less positive note, while the San Pedro ports have reported significant declines in volumes and it is evident in container dwell time, in recent months, West Coast ports have experienced an acceleration in the loss of import market share as shippers bypass California ports for Gulf and East Coast ports,” said Jessica Alvarenga, director of Government Affairs for PMSA.

By Karen Robes Meeks