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Cargo containers pile up at a marine terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.

Cargo containers piled up at a marine terminal at the Port of Los Angeles in March 2022. Photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles

Container Dwell Times at Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports Return to Normal

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2258
February 21, 2023

Container dwell times at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have continued to return to normal following the easing of the two-year pandemic-driven cargo surge.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association reports that January dwell times at the San Pedro Bay ports averaged 3.2 days for local containers (truck-bound), down from a peak of 8.4 days in November 2021.

For rail-bound containers, January dwell time averaged 4.3 days, down from a peak of 16.5 days in August 2022.

Container dwell times have been steadily improving since September after nearly a year of trending upward. The improvement comes as the pandemic-related cargo surge has eased over the last several months and import volumes have now returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“Before the pandemic, the average container dwell time was between two and three days, and we are happy to see it back to normal,” said Jessica Alvarenga, Director, Government Affairs for the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. “Cargo is back to flowing smoothly, and marine terminal operators are ready to handle more.”

The National Retail Federation called the end of the pandemic-driven surge last month as container imports dipped below 2 million TEUs starting in November. It is predicting that containerized imports in the first half this year will reach only 10.9 million TEUs, which would be down 19.4% from the first half of 2022.

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