The Top Ten US Ports by Container Throughput in 2022

The Top Ten US Ports by Container Throughput in 2022

In 2021, on the heels of a Covid recession, the U.S economy grew 5.7%, partly thanks to a 7.9% resurgence in consumer spending. Shipping is an integral part of the supply chain that delivers goods to consumers, so today, we will share ten of the largest U.S ports by container throughput.

The list below will provide information about the ports, and the rankings are determined by how many twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) they handled in 2021. We will also share some exciting facts about each Port, like its economic impact and how many people it employs.

Read on and find out which ports handle the most containers and facilitate global trade with the U.S. Our countdown begins with Port # 10 on the list…Miami Port.

# 10: The Port of Miami

Location: Miami, Florida

Annual container volume: 1.25m TEU (2021)

  • Port of Miami is the largest passenger port in the World and one of the largest cargo ports in the United States. The Port accounts for approximately 334,500 jobs and has an annual economic impact of $43 billion on the state of Florida.
  • It is the busiest cruise/passenger port in the World and also serves as the homeport of one of the largest cruise ships in the World, Symphony of the Seas. Over 5.5 million passengers pass through the Port of Miami each year.
  • The Port primarily handles containerized cargo with small amounts of breakbulk, vehicles, and industrial equipment.

# 9: The Port of Oakland

Location: Oakland, California

Annual container volume: 2.4 million TEU (2021)

  • Port of Oakland was the first significant Port on the Pacific Coast of the United States to build terminals for container ships.
  • In June 2016, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to ban the handling and storage of coal and coke at the Port.
  • The Port also operates Oakland International Airport.

# 8: The South Carolina Ports

Location: South Carolina

Annual container volume: 2.75 million TEU (2021)

  • The South Carolina Ports Authority handles international commerce valued at more than $75 billion annually. It generates 1 in 10 jobs in the state, and port-supported jobs pay 32% higher than the state’s average annual wage.
  • According to a 2019 study, the total economic impact of the SCSPA on the state of South Carolina is approximately $63.4 billion.
  • South Carolina ports account for 224,963 jobs.


#7: The Port of Virginia

Location: Virginia

Annual container volume: 3,522,834 TEU (2021)

Facilities of the Port of Virginia are four marine terminals:

  1. Norfolk International Terminals (NIT)
  2. Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT)
  3. Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT) 
  4. Virginia International Gateway (VIG)

The Virginia Port Authority maintains its Own Police force of fully certified and sworn law enforcement officers of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

#6: The Port of Houston, TX

Location: Houston, Texas

Annual container volume: 3.5 million TEU (2021)

  • It is the U.S.’s largest Port for waterborne tonnage.
  • Port of Houston is responsible for creating 1.35 million jobs in Texas and 3.2 million jobs nationwide.
  • It has an economic impact of $801.9 billion in the U.S.

#5: The Northwest Seaport Alliance, WA

Location: Tacoma, Washington

Annual container volume: 3,736,206 TEU (2021)

  • In 2021 NSA’s top origin country was China (820,939 TEU)
  • Its top destination country was Japan (159,223 TEU)
  • The Northwest Seaport Alliance comprises the seaports of Seattle and Tacoma(Washington State)

#4: The Port of Savannah, GA

Location: Georgia, U.S.A.

Annual container volume: 5.6 million TEU (2021)

Satellite terminal facilities of the Port of Savannah include:

  • Garden City Terminal
  • Ocean Terminal
  • Sea Point Industrial Terminal Complex
  • Target Corporation Facility
  • IKEA Facility
  • Heineken USA Facility

#3: The Port of New York and New Jersey

Location: New York

Annual container volume: 8.9 million TEU (2021)

  • The Port of NY/NJ is the largest container complex in the World.
  • The Port’s top trading partner is China, followed by Italy and Germany.
  • Its top import is beverages, followed by vehicles.
  • New York and New Jersey are the 3rd leading states for total exports to foreign countries.

#2: The Port of Long Beach

Location: Long Beach, California

Annual container volume: 9.38 million TEU (2021)

  • The Port generates approximately $100 billion per year in trade.
  • It employs 316,000 people in California.
  • Port of Long Beach launched The Green Flag incentive Program, which gives discounts to ships to slow down within 20 nautical miles of the harbor to decrease fuel consumption and reduce air pollution.

#1: The Port of Los Angeles, CA

Location: Los Angeles, California

Annual container volume: 10.7 million TEU (2021)

Coming in at number one is the Port of Los Angeles which ranks as the nation’s largest Port by container throughput. Some interesting facts about the Port include that:

  • It accounts for employing 3 million people in the U.S.
  • The Port boasts 7 500 acres of land and water, which include:
  1. Passenger terminals
  2. Cargo terminals with facilities for automobile, dry and liquid bulk, breakbulk, and warehousing.
  • Port of LA is in charge of the Los Angeles Waterfront, which welcomes millions of visitors annually.

In conclusion, the ports listed above have a substantial economic impact on the country and employ millions of people. In addition, they facilitate U.S trade with other countries and provide a gateway for some of the goods we use daily. We hope you found the list of the largest U.S ports by container throughput informative and continue to follow Freight Caviar as we share valuable facts and figures about the logistics industry.

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