Port of Los Angeles officials demanding faster shipment pickups from companies, drivers 

Companies were urged to pick up their shipments in a more timely manner by Port of Los Angeles officials in a statement made on Tuesday. 

Officials say that the container dwell time has lengthened since the pandemic began, and that this extended time may cause shipping issues as the shopping seasons change. 

“The container dwell time is much higher than it was pre-pandemic,” Executive Director Gene Seroka said to CNBC.

“We’re asking our importers to pick up the cargo as quickly as they can, devan the products and return those containers back to the port,” he continued. 

The Port of Los Angeles ssaw it’s seventh straight month of year-over-year increases in February, and doesn’t expect shipping demand to wane any time soon. While recent dwell times have improved from previous months, Seroka still says these times must continue getting shorter if the port is to keep up with continued influx in demand in the coming months.

“The time it takes for the importer to pick up their cargo at the port is now over four days, but it’s off its high of five days sitting under dwell. Truck turn times — the amount of time that it takes a trucker to move in and out of the port to drop off and pick up containers — has decreased to 77 minutes from 88 back in December. So we’re starting to see some of the trending in the right direction. Before we know it, August will be upon us and we’ll start to see back-to-school goods, other sale items and then the year-end holidays, the all-important season for retailers.”

Despite the request for quickness, when asked what legislators could do to help the looming potential of increased port burden, Seroka merely pointed to vaccinations for truckers and warehouse workers, and reiterated that companies will need to start picking up their imported cargo faster. 

“There are more than 100,000 folks that come to work here at the port complex every day. We’ve made significant strides [in CovId vaccinations] with our dock workers and longshore members, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us with respect to truck drivers, warehouse workers and others,” Seroka said. 

“Second … we’ve got to pick up the cargo faster. We can then increase fluidity much more quickly. Our tarmacs are about 90% full and, in our industry, 80% is considered full capacity.”

Seroka offered no other solutions to the dwell time issue.

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