Commentary from Glenn Koepke, FourKites’ GM Network Collaboration
- With lower import volumes and significantly lower dwell times, labor issues at the ports of LA and Long Beach are proving to be minor inconveniences more than they are severe disruptions, with impacts mostly affecting over-the-road stops at the ports. Given the government’s willingness to intervene and avoid a crisis, it’s likely that labor disputes do not become a major issue in the near term.
- The US west coast has long been a strategic artery for global imports, but with constant bottlenecks, delays and lingering labor disputes, supply chains are relying on risk aversion instead of rolling the dice.
- West Coast volumes will steadily rise and be balanced with the East Coast in mid-Q3 when retailers and importers gear up for the holiday season. However, the infrastructure investments and performance of the East Coast will create more competition for LA-Long Beach, which will help achieve longer-term stability and reliability.
- Overall, import shipments began declining last fall. Recently, the volume of imports arriving at West Coast ports has dropped below East Coast imports.
- In four of the past six months, the proportion of US imports arriving at the West Coast has fallen to levels below 40%.
- Most recently, as of April 11, only 36% of US import shipments arrived at West Coast ports. In contrast, for the second half of 2022, at least 42% of US imports arrived at West Coast ports.
- As volumes have declined, so too have Import dwell times across both East and West Coast ports.
- Dwell times at West Coast ports have begun to stabilize since the beginning of 2023 and are now at a 28-day average dwell time of 4.8 days at West Coast ports as of April 11.
- Meanwhile, East Coast imports are seeing a 3.3 28-day average dwell time as of April 11.
- In contrast, the monthly average percentage of OTR stops delayed at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports rose at the end of 2022 and reached a peak of 64.8% in February 2023. The percentage of delays has remained elevated through the first few months of 2023. As of April 11, the percentage of OTR stops delayed at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports for April 2023 is 58.5%.