Cargo Numbers Down at POLB, Dwell Time Falls at San Pedro Bay Ports

Image: Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

High inventory stocks and cargo diversions to East and Gulf Coast seaports continue to affect cargo numbers at the Port of Long Beach, where March container trade dropped by almost one-third year over year, according to data released April 19.

Long Beach handled 30% fewer containers last month to 603,878 TEUs. March 2022 was the busiest March in the port’s history.

Imports also fell 34.7% year over year to 279,148 TEUs, while exports rose 16.9% to 133,512 TEUs. Meanwhile, empty containers fell 40.5% to 191,218 TEUs.

“Warehouses remain full and fewer cargo containers are crossing the docks because consumer spending remains slow,” Port Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “We are ready for a rebound in retail as we work with our industry partners to recapture market share.”

So far, Long Beach has processed 1,721,326 TEUs this year, a 30% drop from the same time period in 2022.

On the bright side, container dwell times at the San Pedro ports continue to trend downward. In March, the average amount of time cargo lingered at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach before departing by truck was 2.5 days in March, down from 2.9 days for February, according to data released April 21 by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

Cargo destined by rail averaged 4.1 days in March, down from 5.8 days in February. 

“Lower container dwell times highlights how efficiently cargo is moving through the marine terminals,” PMSA Vice President Michele Grubbs remarked

By Karen Robes Meeks