Port Technology International (PTI) has ranked the busiest ports in the United States as part of its ongoing coverage of the world’s top ports.
The US has the world’s largest domestic market for products and commerce. Its economic prosperity is largely due to its port activities. TEU performance shifted towards the end of last year and early this 2023 as a result of the contract dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), with East Coast ports outperforming the traditionally dominating West Coast ports.
While the complete annual figures are pending release, we have taken data released so far to provide an indication of what the final yearly figures could look like.
5. Port Houston – 3.2 million TEU
Regaining its position as the fifth-ranking entry on our top 5 list, Port Houston experienced a marginal 4 per cent decline compared to the record volumes of the previous year.
The port announced its biggest month ever for loaded exports in October, recording a 6 per cent increase compared to last October.
Port Houston’s loaded exports have gone up 10 per cent year-to-date (YTD), reaching 1.15 million TEU through October 2023. Loaded import volumes at Port Houston in October went down 4 per cent compared to last October and down 7 per cent for the year as compared to last year.
Total container volumes for the first ten months of this year total 3.20 million TEU.
Earlier this month, the Ports of Houston and Antwerp-Bruges, along with other partners, announced they would explore a mutually beneficial collaboration centred on importing and exporting renewable and low-carbon molecules.
4. Port of Savannah – 4 million TEU
Next on the list, the Port of Savannah has maintained its fourth spot in PTI’s top 5 ports in the US.
The Port of Savannah handled 449,000 TEU in October 2023, making it the fourth busiest month on the port’s record with a 5 per cent increase over the same month in 2019, the most recent year not affected by the pandemic.
From January to October 2023, the Port of Savannah has handled 4.08 million TEU. Despite a slight drop in yearly TEU performance, the Port of Savannah remains one of the most important ports in the US.
Over the preceding fiscal year, the port’s overall trade with India grew faster than any other country in the top 20, with import-export traffic between India totalling 279,149 TEU, an increase of 18 per cent or 43,333 TEU from FY2022.
Earlier this month, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Board approved a $127 million budget to build the Blue Ridge Connector, an inland rail terminal in Gainesville linking Northeast Georgia with the Port of Savannah’s 35 global container ship services.
3. Port of New York and New Jersey – 6.5 million TEU
After concluding 2022 with a total of over 9.5 million TEU, the Port of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) was expected to deliver in 2023.
This year, the port has ranked third on our list, proving its dominance with 6.53 million TEU in the first 10 months of the year.
2. Port of Long Beach – 7.3 million TEU
The Port of Long Beach continues to prove its dominance as one of the nation’s busiest ports, ranking second on our list.
Cargo flows this year have been approximately on pace with pre-pandemic levels when the Port of Long Beach moved more than 6.96 million TEU through November 2019.
1. Port of Los Angeles – 7.8 million TEU
For the third consecutive year, the Port of Los Angeles has retained the top spot of our list.
Consistent consumer demand has pushed Los Angeles container handling records to new highs, with the port reaching 7.8 million TEU in the first 11 months of 2023.
After months of weaker than usual gains, Gene Seroka, Executive Director at the port, noted: “With a long-term dockworkers contract in place, we’re seeing more cargo shifting back to Los Angeles. The table is set to scale up as demand increases.”
Seroka also emphasized the ratification of a six-year contract between ILWU and PMA, highlighting how it provided stability and renewed confidence to customers making cargo shipment destination decisions.
The Port of Los Angeles was granted $233 million in July by the State of California to finish critical infrastructure improvements aimed at establishing a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.