What Are The Major Ports In The United States?

4 mn read

As per the US import data by country, the United States contributes to over 26% of the ocean freight, which implies the importance of ocean freight for its economy. That being said, the United States is home to some of the largest and busiest ports in the world.

If you are planning to enter the United States market, the first thing that you would like to do is check the shipping rates. However, you surely need to check the details of the major shipping ports of the country.


In the following article, we will cover in detail some of the top ports of the United States:

1. Port Of Los Angeles

Located in the San Pedro Bay of California in the western United States, the Port of Los Angeles has a strategic significance. As per the US import data, the Port of Los Angeles handles most trans-Pacific trade; therefore, it is commonly known as America’s Port.

It occupies 7500 acres of land and a 43-mile long waterfront, making it eligible to handle enormous dockings. For twenty-one years, the Port of Los Angeles has remained the top US port and currently ranks nineteenth on the list of busiest ports of the world. According to an estimate, the port handles over $ 1.2 billion worth of cargo every day.

2. Port Of Long Beach

Next on the list of major ports of the United States is the Port of Long Beach. As per the US import-export data, the port handled over 4.9 million TEUs in 2015, accounting for 12.1% of the North American market share.

Port of Long Beach, along with Port of Los Angeles, are responsible for handling over one-quarter of the maritime trade of the United States. The annual trade movement of the Port of Long Beach values over $ 180 billion. The Port of Long Beach is often referred to as the gateway to Asia.

3. Port Of New York & New Jersey

The Ports of New York and New Jersey are the top ports on the Eastern Coast of the United States, where it is the largest and busiest port. Overall, it is the third-largest port in the country.

As per the US import data by country, the Port of New York and New Jersey contributes to over 11% of the entire North American maritime trade. Important commodities like petroleum, scrap metal, break and bulk cargo are the major traded products here.

4. Georgia Ports

Georgia Ports is the combined term for Port of Savannah and Port of Brunswick. Port of Savannah boasts the single largest terminal container facility of North America and has the single largest concentrations of the import-distribution centres on the United States trade.

The Port of Brunswick is largely popular due to the huge volume of automobile trade that it handles. A total of 500 acres of land is leased and owned by the auto industry only. If we look at the US import data, then the Georgia Ports are of high significance for new entrants in the US auto trade.

5. Port Of Seattle Tacoma

Washington’s two major ports went for a merger in 2015 to jointly operate under the Northwest Seaport Alliance, and Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma were the parts of the agreement.

The two ports account for over 5.3% of the North American market trade, and they handle over 2.1 million TEUs. Moreover, the ports saw an enormous increase in traffic since April 2017, when both these ports recorded their largest first-quarter international volume in terms of the container since 2005.

The US import-export data also reveals that Port of Seattle Tacoma holds a strategic significance for the United States maritime trade.

6. Port Of Virginia

One of the busiest ports of the US East Coast, it handled 11.6% of the overall shipments of the eastern coast in 2016. The port also holds strategic importance, and due to this, a ship only takes around 2.5 hours to reach the open sea from the port bay.

It is also connected with the East Coast railway, so the cargo arrival is quite smooth. Hence, a third of its total cargo arrives by trains, which is the maximum for any east cost port of the United States. Recently, the US regulators have approved an alliance between Georgia and Virginia port authorities, which is the first of its kind partnership.

7. Port Of Houston

If we consider the US import export data, then the Port of Houston is the busiest port in the United States and the largest one on the Gulf Coast in terms of foreign tonnage.
It is located in the fourth largest state of the country and stretches over 25 miles. Also, it is just a couple of hours from the Gulf of Mexico region, which is why multiple importers and exporters have the Port of Houston as their port of choice for shipments.

In addition, the Port of Houston has recently acquired the new post Panamax ship to shore cranes to accommodate the growing number of container vessels.

Other Important Ports

Apart from the ones mentioned above, other important ports in the United States are South Carolina ports, Port of Oakland, and Port of Miami. These ports also hold a high significance for the United States trade.

The US trade authorities are regularly on the watch for any congestion that may hamper the smooth functioning of ports. Due to these mega ports, the United States can handle its mammoth maritime trade with ease.

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