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Market News

April State of Transportation-Ocean

Port Dwell

Import port dwell in the US has made a massive recovery throughout the end of 2022 and into 2023.

The Port of Los Angeles, which consistently has one of the highest dwell times, sits at 3.4 days for March of 2023. This marks a 2.5-day improvement over the recent peak in March 2022 of 5.9 days and is a 20% decrease from February 2023. Also notable is the decrease in dwell time at the Port of Long Beach, which peaked in July 2022 at 6.2 days and has seen a 60% decrease since then and sits at 2.5 days for March 2023. The decrease in dwell time has been aided by the shift in trade patterns. Many shippers opted to ship into New York instead, causing New York to have four consecutive months from August 2022-November 2022 with higher import TEUs than either Los Angeles or Long Beach. Volume is returning to the West Coast now that the dwell has decreased, but dwell numbers demonstrate New York’s ability to handle additional capacity.

The Port of Houston has seen a steady decrease in import dwell since January 2022 with March 2023 being its lowest month at 2.5 days. This is a 54% decrease from the 5.4 days seen in January 2022.

The Port of Savannah has continued to see some volatility throughout 2023. Import dwell saw a spike in December 2022 and January 2023, but February and March show a promising rebound. March 2023 marks the lowest import dwell time Savannah has seen in recent months at 2.2 days.

Similarly to import dwell, export dwell in the US has seen improvement from the beginning of 2022.    

Long Beach and Los Angeles have seen the largest improvement across the major US ports. In January 2022, the Port of Los Angeles had a 15.5-day dwell time for exports. As of March 2023, the dwell time is a whopping 9 days fewer at 6.4 days. While not as large of a difference, the Port of Long Beach has still made a 5-day improvement from 11.9 days in January 2022 to 6.4 days in March 2023.  

Many Chinese ports have had a stable export dwell time since January 2022.

Qingdao, Shanghai, and Tianjin have had low and stable export dwell times over the past year. Ranging from a high of 3.5 days and a low of 2.4 days from January 2022-March 2023, these ports have shown a post-covid stability that has not been seen in a while.

Contrast to these ports, there is still variance and higher dwell times in Yantian, Ningbo, and Xiamen. Apart from the month of February 2022, Yantian has remained the highest export dwell time out of China’s major ports. While it remains the highest at 5.6 dwell days in March of 2023, it has seen a 20% decrease from January 2023 and 27% decrease from its peak at 7.6 days.

Xiamen peaked in February 2022 at 8.3 days, making it the highest recent export dwell time in China. However, it has had a remarkable 50% decrease from that point as of March 2023, where the median dwell was 4.2 days.

Ningbo continues to see monthly variances in export dwell. It saw an 11% increase from February 2023 to March 2023, but is still lower than the 5.3 days seen in January 2023.

Port Dwell

US Imports

Lead time on US imports is down across the board. China, Southeast Asia, and Europe are all seeing lower timeframes between the gate in time at origin port to gate out time at destination port, showing a healthy recovery for port dwell globally and more reliable vessel schedules.

Lead time from China for all US coasts has decreased over the course of 2022-2023. Most notably, the West Coast lead time is down to just below a 3-week lead time, which is a 56% decrease since January 2022. A couple months following this peak in July-November, there is a spike in lead time to the East Coast and Gulf Coast, suggesting a shift in volume from West Coast ports to these ports due to the extended lead time. The East Coast and Gulf Coast have continued to recover from the spike with lead times beginning to level back out.

Like China Imports, the West Coast saw high lead times in the beginning of 2022. These have gradually decreased over time, with March 2023 being the lowest recent lead time at 31.1 days. This is a 55% improvement over January 2022.

Lead time to the East Coast has remained stable throughout the last year with a less than 20% difference between the highest lead time of 55.7 days and the lowest of 44.9 days. It is currently sitting at 46.5 days for March 2023.

The Gulf Coast has seen some spikes in lead time from S.E. Asia. Between July 2022 and September 2022, there was a 25% increase in lead time. However, March saw a 32% decrease from that point and has the lowest recent lead time of 53.4 days, showing a strong recovery after a few tumultuous months.

Lead times from Europe have remained stable for all coasts from mid-2022 onward, but lead times were still high to the West Coast at the beginning of 2022. March 2023 marked a 48% decrease in lead time to the West Coast, dropping from 74.3 days to 38.8 days.

China Imports

Contrary to imports into the US, imports into China from the US are seeing increased lead times regardless of the coast they are shipped from.

Imports from the US East Coast are taking the longest to arrive from China. 55.7 days hit in February 2023 is the longest recent lead time we have seen on this lane and is a 42% increase over the recent minimum of 39.2 days in March 2022. March 2023 did see a 3% decrease from February, but it is unsure if the downward trend will continue.

Imports from the Gulf Coast saw a low of 35.7 days in August 2022, but this was followed by a gradual climb of 15 days through December 2022. January and February 2023 saw promising decreases, but March marked an 8% increase in lead time.

Imports from the West Coast follow a similar trend as the Gulf Coast, with a gradual 45% increase in lead time between August 2022 and December 2022. January 2023 dropped from 34 days down to 25, but as of March 2023, the median lead time is back up to 33.4 days.

Europe Imports

Europe imports from China have had a lot of volatility based on country, but there has been an overall downward trend across the board when compared to January 2022.

Lead times into Germany were clearly impacted by the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. From January 2022 through August 2022, there was a 22% increase in lead time which can be attributed to its geographical proximity to Ukraine. From August, there has been decrease of nearly 20 days of lead time, and March 2023 sits at a median of 41.1 days.

Great Britain saw a spike in September and October, which coincided with Prime Minister Liz Truss’s six weeks in office. From the time she stepped down, lead time has improved 24% and March 2023 marked a recent low at 36.4 days.

Spain and the Netherlands follow similar trends of overall decreasing and levelling off to more stable medians.

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