Vessel Dwell Times

The time vessels spend waiting in port is a major factor contributing to port performance. Vessel dwell times measure the time a vessel spends in port actively loading or unloading cargo, which in turn contributes to both port capacity and throughput performance. Port terminals focus on minimizing container vessel call duration to provide sufficient capacity to discharge and load container TEU’s within the shortest period. Ocean carriers and terminal operators focus on minimizing dwell times due to the associated costs while in port. Longer dwell times lengthen schedules and raise costs that are ultimately reflected in shipping rates.
In collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, BTS uses the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) Automatic Identification System (AIS) data to calculate dwell times at berth for ship types, including container and liquid bulk (tanker) vessels. Additional information on the BTS’ methodology can be found at