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US ports by volume: How maritime cargo trends are stacking up

Posted on October 19, 2023

The amount of containers handled at 12 major gateways can help show how the economy is faring. Use this tracker to dig into trends by seaport, coast and month.

As supply chain managers seek to understand demand trends, port volumes are a helpful indicator.

Maritime gateways handled 40% of international freight value in 2022, according to the Department of Transportation. As a result, keeping track of seaport volumes can be a good barometer for establishing years- and months-long trade trends nationwide.

Take the coronavirus pandemic as an example: From 2018 to 2020, the top 12 U.S. seaports were handling roughly 46 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo, known as TEUs. Then, during 2021 and 2022, volumes skyrocketed to more than 53 million TEUs, leading to an infamous bout of congestion and logistics delays.

So far in 2023, volumes have normalized to pre-pandemic levels — but how far above or below 2019 will containerized trade end up?

Tracking monthly data can help shed light on that question. Use this tracker to see total volumes for the top twelve ports in the chart below, as they are released. Scroll down further and apply the filters on the left to sort volume data and historical insights by port, coast or month.

Port volumes return to pre-pandemic levels

Total TEUs handled by the top 12 U.S. containerports, sorted by coast

West Coast figures include the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma. East Coast figures include the top ports in New York and New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Gulf Coast figures represent Port Houston volumes.


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