Each year, America’s ports handle millions of twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers holding cargo that is worth billions of dollars to the United States economy. These ports serve not only as entries and exits to the U.S. but as a gateways to the rest of the world.
While all ports work hard to process cargo quickly and efficiently, some are more productive than the rest. Here is an extensive list.
1. Port of Los Angeles.
With more than 5 million TEUs processed in 2018, the Port of Los Angeles is the No. 1 container port in the country. After breaking its own cargo record in 2017, Los Angeles again increased its TEUs in 2018, going from 4.7 million to 5 million. The port also holds the honor of being the No. 18 port in the world and the top-ranking U.S.-based port on the global list.
2. Port of Long Beach.
The second port in the countdown and the second port located in California, the 3,200-acre Port of Long Beach processed more than 4.3 million TEUs in 2018. With nearly 90 percent of the port’s traffic coming from Asia, the Port of Long Beach is one of the top trade gateways with the continent.
3. Port of New York and New Jersey.
The Port of New York and New Jersey earned the No. 3 spot on the list for the second year in a row. Having been operated together by the New York Port Authority since 1948, the unified, bi-state ports comprise the third-largest port in the nation, and the busiest port on the East Coast. In 2018, their TEUs rose from 3.7 million to 4.1 million.
4. Port of Savannah.
In 2018, the Port of Savannah grew its TEUs from 2.0 million to 2.2 million. It remains home to the single largest container port in North America and is the overall second-busiest container port in the United States.
5. Port of Houston.
In a state where everything is bigger, the Port of Houston is the biggest port in Texas as well as the largest on the Gulf Coast. In 2018, the Port of Houston increased its TEUs from 1.7 million in 2017 to 1.8 million in 2018. This 25-mile port is also the leading breakbulk port in the U.S., processing 52 percent of project cargo on the Gulf Coast.