Largest Ports USA: Top 30 Ports For International Shipping
International shipping needs the right port, a suitable shipping method, and a carrier. It also requires proper documentation to clear customs in both the US and the destination countries. The entire shipping process can become a hassle if you are unfamiliar with the rules & regulations of a particular country. But with AES, you won’t have to handle anything on your own. Our company has 126 years of experience handling customs clearance and navigating routes other shipping companies deemed impossible. Our first and foremost priority is to deliver our customers’ cargo in a secure way and without delay. If you are also searching for “largest ports USA”, read on for information on the top 30 ports in the US.
An overview of the largest ports in the USA
The ports in America are responsible for handling billions of dollars worth of cargo trade and providing jobs to millions of people. An international trade port is always created by keeping efficiency and cargo security in mind.
In the same way, these ports are designed by experienced and qualified civil engineers in a way to reduce pollution. They maximize energy efficiency and have the capability to handle different delivery schedules without congestion.
The 2019 global trade statistics show that the US is the world’s largest importer and second largest exporter. In 2020, maritime ships accounted for 40% of the US international trade value, with goods accounting for 10% of the total GDP.
This country also shares bilateral trade relationships with over 200 countries and territories worldwide. So, it won’t be wrong to say that the US plays a vital role in maritime trade.
What is a port?
A port is a maritime facility situated on a coast to provide services for loading and unloading cargo and passengers on ships. It includes one or more loading areas and wharves, warehouses for cargo storage, and heavy cranes for loading/offloading.
A port also includes a customs facility to inspect cargo, collect taxes and duties, and allow the goods to enter the country. It connects with a transit system like roads and rail links to move the cargo towards its final destination through inland transport.
How do we measure the largest ports in the USA?
The United States’ largest ports are measured based on size, cargo handling capabilities, and processed TEUs. A TEU represents a twenty-foot equivalent shipping container unit, indicating the number of containers a port can handle.
The higher it is, the busiest the port is. Large ports also provide services, terminals, and other facilities for both container shipping and RoRo shipping. They are crucial to international trade and keeping the economy’s wheel moving smoothly.
What are the major US ports?
International shipping through ocean freight is not only efficient but also affordable. It’s also a good choice for sending your vehicles, heavy equipment, or machinery overseas. In fact, 90% of the world’s trade is through ocean freight.
That is the primary reason the ports are vital to international trade and what makes the largest ports in the United States the busiest ones. Here is the list of 30 major ports in the United States ranked according to their tonnage:
1. Port of Houston
The Port of Houston, based in Texas, is popular for handling container shipments. In 2019 it had the highest total cargo volume in short tons out of all US ports. It can handle 2,527,506 TEUs and 288,944,468 tons of cargo volume annually.
2. Port of South Louisiana
The Port of South Louisiana is the largest and busiest port in the US, situated in Louisiana along the Mississippi River. It can handle 229,797,480 tons of cargo volume annually.
3. Port of New York and New Jersey
The Port of New York and New Jersey lies in the middle of the New York-Newark metropolitan area. This is the largest American port based on its size and importance.
It is also the most significant natural harbor in the world. The Port of New York and New Jersey mainly handles trade from Europe and can support 5,439,059 TEUs and 136,575,034 tons of freight annually.
4. Port of Beaumont
The Port of Beaumont, situated in Texas, is the fourth-busiest port in the US. It also serves as a military port. This port includes RoRo storage, rail storage, and the largest mobile crane in the Gulf of Mexico. It can handle 94,403,631 tons of total cargo trade annually.
5. Port of Long Beach
The Port of Long Beach is also one of the largest ports in the United States that support trade between Asia and the US. It handles 5,730,475 TEUs and 80,693,406 tons of freight annually.
6. Port of New Orleans
The Port of New Orleans is the only international container port in Louisiana. It consists of diverse cargo and breaks bulk facilities. This port can handle 840,000 TEUs and 77,159,081 tons of cargo volume annually.
7. Port of Corpus Christi
The Port of Corpus Christi, situated in Texas, is an independent port. It is the third-largest port in the US regarding its tonnage. This port supports 76,157,693 tons of freight annually.
8. Port of Greater Baton Rouge
The Port of Greater Baton Rouge-based in Louisiana is the tenth-largest port in the US in terms of tonnage. It has the capability of handling Panamax ships and can support 63,875,439 tons of freight annually.
9. Port of Los Angeles
The Port of Los Angeles is another largest in the US, situated in California. It handles 6,450,596 TEUs and 63,004,373 tons of freight annually. This port employs thousands of people to handle cargo, mainly from Asia and other countries.
10. Port of Virginia
The Port of Virginia provides efficient shipping facilities in Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Newport areas. It can handle 2,172,284 TEUs and 61,701,612 tons of cargo volume annually.
11. Port of Savannah
The Port of Savannah is a major port on the US East Coast in Georgia. It offers several storage and shipping facilities and an inland distribution system. This port handles 3,701,297 TEUs and 41,944,446 tons of freight annually.
12. Port of Plaquemines
The Port of Plaquemines, based in Louisiana, is one of the largest ports in the USA. It is more used for domestic trade and supports 58,280,348 tons of freight annually.
13. Port of Lake Charles
The Port of Lake Charles, based in Lake Charles City, Louisiana, is the 83rd busiest port in the world in terms of tonnage. It includes a variety of terminals and docks for handling cargo. This port supports 56,577,328 tons of cargo volume annually.
14. Port of Mobile
The Port of Mobile is the only deep-water port in Alabama. In 2014, it was the 9th largest port in the US in terms of tonnage. It supports 53,992,615 tons of freight annually.
15. Port of Texas City
The Port of Texas City is a primary deep water port in Texas City, Texas. It supports 47,723,390 TEUs and 52,606,030 tons of cargo volume annually.
16. Port of Huntington Tri-State
The Port of Huntington Tri-State, based in West Virginia, is the second-largest inland port in the US. It can handle 46,831,097 tons of cargo volume annually.
17. Port of Baltimore
The Port of Baltimore, situated in Maryland, is a major RoRo port with bulk and vehicle handling facilities. It supports 36,578,828 tons of freight cargo every year.
18. Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior
The ports of Duluth and Superior, located in Minnesota, and Wisconsin, form twin ports to handle a range of commodities. They support 36,477,257 tons of cargo volume every year.
19. Port of Arthur
The Port of Arthur is also significant in Texas. It can handle 34,699,150 tons of freight every year.
20. Port of St. Louis and East St. Louis
The Port of St. Louis and East St. Louis, located in Missouri, Illinois, is the second-busiest inland port in the US. It is ice-free year-round and without canal locks. This port supports 34,699,150 tons of cargo volume annually.
21. Port of Pittsburgh
The Port of Pittsburgh, situated in Pennsylvania, spans 200 miles of commercially navigable waterways. It supports 32,746,315 tons of freight annually.
22. Port of Tampa Bay
The Port of Tampa Bay is also one of the most diversified and extensive ports in the USA in Tampa, Florida. It can handle 32,406,550 tons of cargo volume and 487,410 TEUs annually.
23. Port of Philadelphia
The Port of Philadelphia, located on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, consists of a series of marine terminals and cargo handling facilities. It can support 26,046,318 tons of freight annually.
24. Port of Charleston
The Port of Charleston, located in South Carolina, primarily handles containers, vehicles, and bulk commodities. It supports 1,821,148 TEUs and 24,596,490 tons of freight annually.
25. Port of Richmond
The Port of Richmond is a significant shipping terminal that boasts the third largest volume of tonnage annually in California state. It can handle 23,544,415 tons of freight annually.
26. Port of Portland
The Port of Portland is a port district responsible for overseeing the marine activities and general aviation in the metropolitan area of Oregon, US. It supports 23,427,235 tons of cargo volume annually.
27. Port of Seattle
The Port of Seattle, based on the West Coast in Washington, works in alliance with the Port of Tacoma to handle large shipments. It supports 1,293,435 TEUs and 23,009,273 tons of freight annually.
28. Port Everglades
The Port of Everglades is a seaport in Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is another one of the largest ports in the USA. It acts as a gateway to cruising vacations and international trade. This port can handle 21,702,940 tons of cargo volume every year.
29. Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma plays a vital role in international trade from the Pacific Northwest. It covers 2400 acres of land with shipping and storage facilities. The Port of Tacoma can handle 1,662,125 TEUs and 21,496,577 tons of cargo volume annually.
30. Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland, situated in California, is home to a large container facility despite a lower tonnage rate. It is also one of the busiest ports in the US based on the number of processed TEUs. The Port of Oakland can handle 1,976,338 and 19,349,104 tons of freight annually.
What are the largest ports in the USA for RoRo operations?
Beaumont, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Galveston, and Charleston ports provide primary automobile RoRo operations in the US.
What are the largest ports in the United States for container operations?
The US’s top ports for container operations include Tacoma, Los Angeles, Savannah, Long Beach, and New York and New Jersey ports.
What are the major ports in the US for international shipping?
The major international shipping ports in the US are Los Angeles, Houston, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina.
The largest ports in the USA are also the busiest ones because of the considerable cargo they handle annually. But if you are shipping overseas, not every port supports all shipping methods or import of heavy machinery or vehicles. However, a shipping company like AES can help you find the most suitable port that supports your shipment method. We can also help you process documentation and clear customs in the US and destination countries. Our main priority is finding the right carrier to deliver your cargo securely and without delay.
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