The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) said
the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach saw average dwell time at their container terminals fall to three days in November after spiking in September and October, in what was considered to be a reflection of the turmoil caused by the Hanjin Shipping insolvency.
The dwell time of a container is the period between when the container is unloaded from a ship and the time when it is picked up. Longer container dwell times result in more terminal space being taken up, and more interference with the pickup and delivery of other containers, the PMSA explained.
“November’s data shows the San Pedro Bay Complex is moving in the right direction and we hope this becomes a continuous trend,” PMSA President John McLaurin said.
Dwell time fell even as volumes increased over the three months.
When containers arrive at a terminal, they are given several days of “free time” before they have to be picked up by a truck or loaded onto a ship. The Port of Los Angeles tariff
, for example, generally provides inbound containerized foreign cargo four days of free time and outbound containerized foreign cargo six days of free time, after which wharf demurrage must be paid.
The percentage of containers with a dwell time of more than five days fell from 8.6 percent in October to 7.4 percent in November, but that is still more than double the 3.4 percent rate in May of last year.