Container dwell times in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are returning to normal

The dwell times of containers in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have continued to normalize after the two-year pandemic-related surge in freight has abated.

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

For rail-bound containers, the average dwell time in January was 4.3 days, compared to a peak of 16.5 days in August 2022.

Container dwell times have steadily improved since September after nearly a year of upward trend. The improvement comes as pandemic-induced freight surges have eased in recent months and import volumes have now returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“Before the pandemic, the average dwell time for containers was between two and three days, and we are pleased that it has returned to normal,” said Jessica Alvarenga, director, government affairs at the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. “Cargo is flowing smoothly again and marine terminal operators are ready to handle more.”

The National Retail Federation last month announced the end of the pandemic-related surge as container imports fell below 2 million TEU from November. Containerized imports are forecast to reach just 10.9 million TEU in the first half of this year, down 19.4% from the first half of 2022.

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