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Top 10 Fastest-Growing Ports In United States Over The Last Decade

Among the nation's top 50 airports, seaports and border crossings, these 10 saw their trade increase the most over the last decade, with the top three more than doubling, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by

Posted on January 2, 2024

The United States’ fastest-growing major port over the last decade is the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, an energy-exporting powerhouse, with growth of 238.33% since 2013.

Its exporting prowess is so strong, in fact, that it is also one of the 10 worst performing for imports over the last decade, down 63.3%.

Corpus Christi is followed by the Port of Mobile, Ala., (121.84%)) Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International Airport (103.49% ) and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (99.65%).

To determine this, I ranked the nation’s more than 400 ports by value through October, the latest U.S. Census Bureau data available. Then I narrowed it down to the top 50 since they account for more than 85% of all U.S. trade.

The value of exports (dark blue) far outweigh the value of imports (light blue) at the Port of Corpus Christi, which has the nation’s largest trade surplus.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has seen its trade grow from just under $30 billion through the first 10 months of 2013 to more than $60 billion through the first 10 months of 2023.

In addition to those four, rounding out the top 10 are three more in Texas (Port Laredo, at 79.95: Eagle Pass at 75.65%; and the Port of Beaumont at 72.25%); one more in Georgia (the Port of Savannah at 78.07%); trade credited to Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport (90.33%); and the border crossing at Otay Mesa, Calif. (75.68%)

Though not among the nation’s top 50 airports, seaports and border crossings, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport has shown tremendous growth over the last decade, as have Orlando International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport.

Expanding the list to the top 100 does bring in some interesting stories as well — beyond several energy-focused ports — are Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport with 10-year growth of 585.37%, Orlando International Airport (180.54%) and Indianapolis International Airport (145.05%).

Those outside the top 50 have lesser volumes of trade and larger percentage gains are, while not easily accomplished, more easily accomplished at larger airports, seaports and border crossings.

Reverting to the list culled from the top 50, the mode of transportation is balanced. The top 10 list consists of four seaports (Corpus Christi, Mobile, Savannah and Beaumont), three airports (Atlanta, O’Hare and Cleveland), and three border crossings (Laredo, Eagle Pass and Otay Mesa).

Where do those top 10 rank by value among all the nation’s ports?

Three rank in the top 10: top-ranked Port Laredo, No. 2-ranked O’Hare and No. 10 Savannah; two more rank in the top 20, Cleveland (17) and Corpus Christi (18); and the remaining five rank between No. 20 and No. 50 (No. 22 Atlanta, No. 25 Otay Mesa, No. 32 Eagle Pass, No. 42 Mobile and No. 44 Beaumont).

Looking at these top 10 ports for their top trade partner, four count China as their top trade partner (O’Hare, Savannah, Mobile and Beaumont), three have the most trade with Mexico (Laredo, Eagle Pass and Otay Mesa), two with the Netherlands (Corpus Christi and Atlanta) and one with Germany (Cleveland).

Seven of the 10 have trade deficits while three have trade surpluses — Corpus Christi ($61.90 billion), Beaumont ($13.64 billion) and Cleveland ($10.20 billion).

For Corpus Christi, 77% of the value of its export is oil, another 10% is gasoline and other refined petroleum and 7.7% is natural gas, including LNG — almost 95 percent of the total.

For Beaumont, 88% is the total for the same three, with oil at 39%, gasoline at 25% and natural gas at 24%.

Cleveland’s exports are more varied than Corpus Christi’s or Beaumont’s, both of which have ridden the wave of U.S. energy exports.

For Cleveland, the leading exports are the category for civilian aircraft and parts (19%), computer chips (9.6), cell phones and related equipment (4.9%), artificial knees and hips (4.6%), computers (3.44%), medical instruments (3.3%) and solar panels (3%).

In addition to Corpus Christi, two other top 50 ports saw their trade more than double in a decade — Mobile and Atlanta International.

Four of Mobile’s top five imports through October this year have exceeded $1 billion in value.

For Mobile, its leading imports are oil (17%), motor vehicle parts (8.5%) and miscellaneous aircraft parts (6.5%). Atlanta’s top imports are the category that includes vaccines, plasma and other blood “fractions” (33%) and medicines in individual dosages (8.7%).


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