Economics

The Busiest Ports In The United States

Extending for 54 miles (87 km) along the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the Port of South Louisiana is the busiest port

About 90% of global trade is conducted via the sea. Marine transportation has been an ideal way to transport large amounts of cargo across the world for thousands of years. Massive ships enable thousands of containers to be transported through various ports in the United States. With the expansion of existing trade routes, improved international relations and building of bigger ships, marine transport have seen tremendous growth in the recent past. There are numerous ports throughout the US coastline that have grown tremendously and that facilitate the import and export of many commodities.

The Three Busiest Ports Of The US

1. Port of Louisiana, Louisiana

The Port of Louisiana is a river port located along the Mississippi River on a 54-mile stretch which cuts through three Louisiana parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. James, and St. Charles. The port is the busiest and the largest port in the United States in cargo volume with a trading volume of 238,585,604 short tons in 2013. The port is primarily involved in the export of grain accounting for almost 70% of all grain exported from the US and the import of crude oil and refined petroleum products. The Port of South Louisiana is also serviced by a network of rail and roads which make the handling of cargo highly efficient. The port handles cargo from over 70 countries all over the world with Russia and Brazil being the top importers while China, Japan, and Egypt being the top exporters.

2. Port of Houston, Texas

The Port of Houston is among the busiest ports in the world which is located in Houston, Texas. It has one of the largest petrochemical facilities in the world and the majority of the cargo handled is associated with oil drilling, production and refined oil products. The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) operates and owns the public facilities in the port. The major trading countries which use the Port of Houston as either a source of their imports or a destination for their exports include China, Mexico, Brazil and Germany with a total trade volume of $113.08 billion in 2016. In 2013 the port handled trade cargo volume of 229,246,833 short tons

3. Port of New York and New Jersey, New York

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest port in the East Coast and includes waterways, rail and road networks and several airports in an area that covers 17 local counties making it the most complex port in the United States. The port has around 240 miles of shipping channels and port facilities which enables the port to handle more than 3.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs annually. The port has one of the deepest natural harbors with an average depth of 17 feet but has been subsequently dredged to reach an average depth of 50 feet to accommodate mega ships which use the Panama Canal in Latin America. In 2013 the port handled 123,322,644 short tons of cargo volume.

Problems Associated With Busy Ports

With the growth of ports in the United States, scientists, environmentalists and critics have been quick to point out their impact to the environment with air and water pollution being cited along with noise pollution. However, ports have created many job opportunities to the local population in their respective areas while providing for a sustainable mode of bulk cargo transportation.

The Busiest Ports In The United States

RankPort nameTotal trade (Cargo volume 2013, short tons)
1Port of South Louisiana238,585,604
2Port of Houston, Texas229,246,833
3Port of New York and New Jersey Port Newark123,322,644
4Port of Beaumont, Texas94,403,631
5Port of Long Beach, California84,492,739
6Port of Hampton Roads, Virginia78,664,496
7Port of New Orleans, Louisiana77,159,081
8Port of Corpus Christi, Texas76,157,693
9Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana63,875,439
10Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana58,280,348
11Port of Los Angeles, California57,928,594
12Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana56,577,328
13Port of Mobile, Alabama53,992,615
14Port of Texas City, Texas49,674,036
15Port of Huntington-Tristate, West Virginia46,831,097
16Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, Maryland36,578,828
17Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin36,477,257
18Port of Port Arthur, Texas34,699,150
19St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois33,574,650
20Port of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania32,746,315

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