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What Are the Shipping Options at Port of LA?

If you are looking to expand your business by importing or exporting goods, the Port of Los Angeles may be the right shipping solution. It has been recognized for more than two decades as the premier shipping port in North America. Using a sustainable supply chain and new technology has allowed them to raise efficiency standards when it comes to transporting cargo around the globe.

The Port of LA releases daily operations reports, offers easy scheduling for gate appointments, and top-notch security for containers that need to be stored. That kind of transparency gives this seaport the edge over the competition and makes it one of the busiest in the world. 

How Long Does Your Shipment Need To Be In Transit

Importing products from China can take between 15 and 20 days to reach the Port of Los Angeles. After that, it can take up to a week for the container’s contents to reach their final destination.

What is the Port of Los Angeles?

Located 25 miles south of Los Angeles in San Pedro Bay, the Port of Los Angeles is North America’s busiest container port. Stretching across 43 miles of waterfront, the Los Angeles port encompasses 7,500 acres of land and water. 

Between their passenger and cargo terminals, the facility handles billions of dollars each year while maintaining their AA bond rating. That credit rating is the highest attainable for self-funded ports.

This extremely busy seaport is known for its cutting-edge facilities which used advanced technology to improve the efficiency of its terminal’s cargo-handling capabilities. The Port of LA invests heavily in transportation and infrastructure projects and generates employment for more than 3 million Americans. 

5 Types of Shipping Options Available at Port of LA

The Los Angeles Port offers a variety of options for importing and exporting your containers. There are also options for moving your merchandise to and from the facility to prepare it for shipping or receiving. Let’s take a look at the possibilities below.


Import or export full container or shared container loads. Take into account the product and time sensitivity for delivery. 


The Los Angeles Port has the most extensive, modern network of rail services to connect US imports and exports to the international market. With more than 65 miles of track on the dock, your goods are sure to get to their destination quickly and safely.

Port to Port

Vessels will carry containers to other ports in the area, such as the Port of Oakland, San Francisco, and others by ship.


Harbor trucks are used to move containers on and off the premises. There is a Clean Truck Program that requires certain compliances to be met before the truck is allowed on the docks, so be sure the company you use is aware of the regulations.


Freight shipping can be completed through carriers like DHL, FedEx, UPS, and other shipping companies for smaller packages. Sending freight by air is another acceptable way to get your items to or from the Port of LA.

Things to Consider with Shipping in Port of Los Angeles

Getting your products from point A to B with little to no damage, and at a fair cost depends on a few factors. Let’s go over a few of them below.

Figure Out the Best Shipping Option for Your Needs

Being the largest seaport in North America, there isn’t much the Port of Los Angeles does not ship. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check with the facility before finalizing shipping arrangements. 

Items that can’t be shipped by containers such as construction equipment and vehicles, or other oversized items can be sent via the breakbulk terminal. There are three dry bulk terminals to transport minerals, waste, metal products, and more.

The Port of LA also has seven liquid bulk terminals for importing and exporting gasoline, cooking oil, fruit juices, and other items that fall under this category. 

Determine The Cost Of Shipping Your Items

No matter what type of cargo you are shipping, you must first assess the shipping volume and weight. This will determine whether you need a full or shared container for shipping. 

If you are shipping internationally you need to consider the costs of having your merchandise unloaded and carried to its destination. There are often extra fees if the container is held at the terminal for any reason, so you want to be sure the company you use is reliable and doesn’t end up costing you more money.

There may also be additional costs depending on the route being taken to or from the Port of LA. Traveling distance and stops at other docks along the path may also add to the shipment cost. It’s important to research the companies to find the one with the best options for your goods. 

Find The Right Shipping Carriers

The Port of Los Angeles offers a freight forwarding service through a group called the Los Angeles Forwarders Brokers. This is especially helpful if you are new to the international shipping and cargo handling process at the Port of LA. 

The community of forwarders uses their expertise to assist in finding the right options for nationwide local shippers to transport their cargo from the Los Angeles Port to major US cities. The association helps importers ship through the Port of Los Angeles by preparing documentation for Customs clearance to door delivery.

Once you have determined the cost of shipping for your products, finding the right carrier is important, and the freight forwarders are there to walk you through the process. If you’re new to shipping to or from the Port of LA, keep reading for tips on how to choose the right shipping carrier. 

4 Tips For Choosing The Right Shipping Carrier

The Port of Los Angeles is constantly and consistently busy, and having the right shipping partner can either help you generate a profit, or the wrong one will help you generate expenses. 

You want a company that is familiar with the complexities and procedures involved with importing and exporting from Los Angeles Port. Below are a few ways you can minimize potential problems.

Know Your Marine Terminal Operator

MTOs contract with carriers to process containers that arrive at the port. There are companies that are more efficient and don’t cause delays that end up costing you more in fees. Find carriers that contract with a reputable MTO for your shipping needs.

Move Your Product at Night

When you move goods during off-peak hours, you can avoid some of the costly fees. Experienced Southern California port services providers can let you know your options.

Choose the Right Drayage Partner

Carriers often work with drayage partners to connect your freight to the dock. Finding one that is familiar with the Port of LA and its layout will save time and keep costs low. 

Make Sure They Use Updated Technology

The Port of Los Angeles is popular for its use of modern technology to track and secure containers. So, picking a carrier who does the same will give you regular updates of your order’s progress. 

Advantages of Shipping at LA Port

This port uses the most advanced technology to keep its operations efficient, which is why it has been the number one seaport in the US since the year 2000. The terminals are modern and equipped with tracking information to help you keep an eye on your shipments. 

The Port of LA also is known for the progressive security measures taken to protect your goods while in their possession. 

Disadvantages of Shipping at LA Port

Because the Port of LA is so busy, it has experienced a backlog due to the pandemic. They have recently begun operating on a 24/7 schedule to move products to and from the docks in an effort to ease the backlog. 

LA’s heavy traffic is another disadvantage as it takes much longer, depending on your location, to transport your goods. 

Shipping with North America’s Busiest Port

The Port of Los Angeles is undoubtedly one of the best shipping ports in the world. While they may be experiencing delays right now, they have the technology to quickly get back on track and help your business grow. 


How many terminals are in the Port of Los Angeles?

There are 7 major container terminals and 6 intermodal rail yards.

Is the Port of Los Angeles the Same As the Port of Long Beach?

No, they operate separately, but together, they handle 40% of all U.S. imports.

Where is the Port of Los Angeles?

 It is 25 miles south of downtown LA in San Pedro Bay. 

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