L.A., Long Beach Rail Dwell Times Up, Truck Times Stable

Trucks queued at a Port of Los Angeles terminal. Photo: POLA.

The average time it took for a container to leave the Los Angeles and Long Beach seaports via rail in February rose significantly from the previous month, according to data released March 19 by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

Dwell time for containers leaving the ports by rail jumped from a 4.72-day average in January to a 6.26-day average in February, indicating that rail cargo is experiencing a rise in congestion, the association said.

However, the average truck dwell time was 2.82 days in February, not drastically different from January’s 2.89-day average.

“These truck dwell times for 2024 are near the historical, pre-pandemic average of 2-3 days,” according to PMSA.

In February, 5.9% of the truck-bound cargo stayed for more than five days while 45.9% of cargo departing by rail lingered for the same time period, according to the data.

“Truck dwell times continue to remain fairly steady from month to month,” PMSA External Affairs Manager Natasha Villa said. “However, dwell time for rail-destined cargo saw an unexpected increase, which may have been partially due to winter weather impacts.”

“We will continue to monitor these numbers to see if any specific trend can be identified regarding rail dwell time changes,” she added.

By Karen Robes Meeks