Top 10: The busiest container ports in the United States
Several important container ports are located in the United States and are key gateways for national and global trade.
Below, you can find a list of Container News for the busiest box ports in the US in terms of TEU volumes in 2021.
- Port of Los Angeles, California – 10.7 million TEUs in 2021
The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) is the busiest port in the United States for the last 21 years, and in the last year, it broke its annual container volume record handling approximately 10.7 million TEUs.
POLA is located in San Pedro Bay of the western US state of California and with 25 cargo terminals, the major Californian gateway handles 20% of all incoming cargo for the country.
- Port of Long Beach, California – 9.4 million TEUs in 2021
The Port of Long Beach (POLB) moved 9,384,368 TEUs in 2021, which represents an annual box volume record for the Californian port.
As the second-busiest container seaport in the United States, POLB handles trade valued at US$200 billion annually, serving 175 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports around the world.
- Port of New York and New Jersey, New York – 9 million TEUs in 2021
The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the US East Coast and the third largest and busiest port in the country, handling 8,985,929 TEU in 2021 across its six container terminals.
The port serves all of the world’s major ocean carriers and global alliances with over 70% first port of call and consists of a complex of approximately 386 kilometres of shipping channels, as well as anchorages, and port facilities.
- Port of Savannah, Georgia – 5.6 million TEUs in 2021
Port of Savannah handled 5.6 million TEUs in 2021, translating to a year-on-year increase of 20% and marking an all-time record for the port.
Georgia Port Authority (GPA) has plans to continue to increase the container capacity of the port and the box figures are expected to grow more in the next years.
- Northwest Seaport Alliance (Seattle and Tacoma), Washington – 3.7 million TEUs in 2021
The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, handled a total of 3,736,206 TEUs in 2021.
NWSA noted that 2022 full imports grew 16.8% and full exports declined 12.5% with full imports fuelling by strong consumer demand, while full exports were impacted by a shortage of equipment and space.
NWSA was officially established in 2015 from the merger of Washington state’s largest ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
- Port of Virginia, Virginia – 3.5 million TEUs in 2021
The Port of Virginia posted its most productive year on record having processed 3,522,834 million TEUs in 2021 and overcoming Houston as the sixth busiest container port in the US.
The port has said that between 2015 and 2025, it will have invested US$1.5 billion in its infrastructure, creating a network of six terminals that can handle any type of cargo.
- Port Houston, Texas – 3.5 million TEUs in 2021
Port Houston lost one position and fell to the seventh rank, despite the fact that it processed a record nearly 3.5 million TEUs for the entirety of 2021.
Texas’s largest port includes two container terminals and is home to the largest petrochemical manufacturing complex in the US with petroleum and petroleum products leading the trading commodities.
- South Carolina Ports, South Carolina – 2.8 million TEUs in 2021
Including the Port of Charleston and another four major ocean terminals, South Carolina Ports (SC Ports) handled 2,751,442 TEUs in 2021, climbing to the eighth place of US busiest ports.
SC Ports, which owns and operates the Port of Charleston, Port of Georgetown, Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon, claims it has invested more than US$2 billion in port infrastructure in recent years to enhance its global competitiveness.
- Port of Oakland, California – 2.4 million TEUs in 2021
Located on the East shore of San Francisco Bay, the Port of Oakland is the ninth busiest box port in the United States, reporting volumes of 2,448,243 TEUs in 2021. The port’s container throughput remained steady compared to 2020 figures, but Oakland seaport lost ground due to SC Ports’ volume increase.
The Port of Oakland ranks among the four largest Pacific Coast ports for container cargo, following the aforementioned ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma (NWSA).
- Port Miami, Florida – 1.3 million TEUs in 2021
PortMiami maintained its presence in the 10 busiest US container ports, reporting 1,254,062 TEUs in 2021.
PortMiami claims it contributes more than US$43 billion annually to Miami-Dade County’s local economy and supports over 334,500 jobs in Florida. The port is located at the crossroads of north-south and east-west trade lanes and serves ocean carriers by linking worldwide markets with US consumers and producers.