5 Largest Ports in the United States

The United States is home to dozens of ports that serve as a way to get goods in and out of the country. Read our blog to find out where some of the biggest ports in the country are, making up for the majority of goods moving in and out of the US, connecting both sellers and buyers to products.

Houston, Texas

The port of Houston is home to about 290 million MT of cargo movement, between imports and exports, making it the busiest port in all of the United States. It also ranks quite high on international links, coming in as the tenth busiest port in the world. The Houston port was founded in 1914, located in the Houston downtown harbour. Currently, the entirety of the port is about 50 miles long, far larger than most other US ports, allowing it to handle much more traffic in and out. Houston sees thousands of vessels each year, bringing in a direct trade value of this port’s operations to about $160 billion. Houston is home to 52 heavy-lift docks spread through the facility. Finally, the network in Houston consists of more than 200 operators from both the public and private domains, accounting for a total of about 800,000 jobs in the facility as a whole.

South Louisiana

Louisiana is probably the most widely-used port in the United States throughout history and has always been known for its prime location, connecting many different parts of the world for over three hundred years. The port of South Louisiana has been active since the early 1700s, though cargo operations only began in the 1940s. Though it is smaller than Houston, South Louisiana handles 60% of all the grain cargo handling that takes place in the Midwest, making it absolutely crucial. The facility is just under 55 miles in length, making it one of the largest and also most widespread ports in the US, stretching between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. It’s also considered one of the main US ports because of its more recent growth, specifically, the port has grown 12% in just ten years, a rate much higher than its fellow ports. Also notable, the port handles about 25% of all oil cargo that is moved across the United States.

New York, NY, and New Jersey

The port of New York and New Jersey makes up the entirety of the New York Harbour coastline, spreading over 25 miles, making it the largest natural harbour in the world. Perhaps its most notable feature is its direct access through the Atlantic with a channel surface of 640 miles leading to the complex. In 1910, the port of New York and New Jersey was ranked the busiest global port. Though it hasn’t held that title in more than a century, it still ranks as one of the busiest, and the third busiest domestically. A net annual turnover of $5.5 billion makes it one of the most profitable ports in the nation. About a quarter of its trade is done with China, while India is second at 8%. In 2019, there was a total of 136.6 million MT cargo handling figures.

Corpus Christi, TX

Perhaps one of the most well-known features of the Port of Corpus Christi is its energy conservation blueprint. The founding of this port was in 1926 and it’s been best known for its movement of crude oil and gas. Its average depth of 14 meters allows for oil-carrying vessels of all sizes to move freely throughout the port, which is usually more of a challenge at an average port. Also notable, part of the facility is home to military units belonging to the local US NAVY base, which has been active since 1997. The port handles about 100 million MT of cargo in a given year, the majority of which can be attributed to crude oil and petroleum products. Finally, another standout is the 9300 sq. meters of refrigeration and storage space for sensitive cargo handling, opening up the cargo possibilities far past just oil.

Beaumont, TX

The port of Beaumont located in southeast Texas has been operating since 1908 and primarily operates as a military port. The facility is about 150 square miles and has annual revenue of $2.2 billion through commercial shipping, making it one of only a handful of ports in the US to handle both merchant and defense fleets. Beaumont is an important port for oil cargo, with the waterway handling 57% of the total petroleum transport along with 14% of gasoline cargo across the country. Beaumont employs about 1900 civilians in permanent positions for cargo and port operations and houses 600,000 square feet of storage space for all goods.

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If you have any questions about US ports and which ones you may need to learn about when shipping your cargo, contact us today and we’ll be happy to answer any and all questions you may have!

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