If you’re a U.S. importer, there is a good chance that your goods are entered in one of the 5 busiest ports in the United States.
What is a Port of Entry?
A port of entry is a location where people and goods can make entry into the country. This includes ocean ports and international airports. U.S. port activities include clearing cargo, collecting duties, processing passengers, and more. The busiest container ports in the United States are gateways to import billions of dollars of goods per year.
The 5 Busiest Container Ports in the United States
1) The Port of Los Angeles (POLA)
2020 TEU: 9,213,395
Just 25 miles from downtown LA in San Pedro Bay, the Port of Los Angeles is the United States’ busiest port.
The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest port of the United States for the 20th consecutive year, handling 9,213,395 TEU in 2020. With 25 cargo terminals, the POLA handles 20% of all incoming cargo for the U.S.
POLA is the 19th busiest container port globally and the 10th busiest worldwide when combined with the neighboring Port of Long Beach.
2) The Port of Long Beach (POLB)
2020 TEU: 8,113,315
The Port of Long Beach, America’s second-busiest port, is also located in California. 90% of shipments traveling through POLB are East Asian trade.
POLB has 22 shipping terminals, six of which handle container vessels, and serves 175 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports worldwide.
POLB is a significant gateway for Transpacific trade and the 21st-busiest container port globally, handling 8,113,315TEU in 2020 with an annual estimated trade value of $170 billion.
3) Port of New York & New Jersey
2020 TEU: 7,585,819
The Port of New York & New Jersey is the largest on the east coast of the United States and the third-busiest in the U.S. This port handled 7,585,819 TEU in 2020, with an operating capacity of about 9 million TEU.
The port serves all of the world’s major ocean carriers and global alliances. It consists of 386 km of shipping channels, anchorages, and port facilities. The Port has six container terminals, which can handle nine 14,000TEU vessels at the same time.
4) Port of Savannah
2020 TEU: 4,682,249
The Port of Savannah is the second-largest port on the East Coast and the fourth busiest port of the U.S. It hosts the largest single-terminal container facility in North America, handling 4,682,249 TEU in 2020.
It is estimated that this number will be increased until 2023, as the port’s container annual capacity will grow by 750,000TEU. In 2020, Savannah’s total container trade expanded by 1.8% compared to the previous year.
5) Port of Seattle & Tacoma (NWSA)
2020 TEU: 3,320,379
Located in the Puget Sound region of the United States, The Northwest Seaport Alliance handled 3,320,379 TEU during 2020, a waterborne trade value of US $66 billion, and 189 trade partners worldwide.
The NWSA was officially established in 2015 when the ports of Seattle and Tacoma merged. A total of 1,684 cargo vessels called its terminals during 2020, and 949 were container ships.