Top 10 Busiest Terminals in America
Staff Content Writer
July 8, 2022 • 5 minutes read
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In this day and age, a nation’s economy depends heavily on trade and subsequently, its ports. That’s why it’s important for freight forwarders to utilize container tracking software and keep an eye out for potential delays and work around them. Since approximately 90% of all trade is conducted through ocean freight, ports and freight forwarders play major roles in ensuring that goods are successfully transported around the globe.
However, with the logistics industry still in the process of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, port congestion and shipping delays are still incredibly common occurrences.
Unfortunately, there is no quick solution to fixing port congestion and angry customers, but having shipping visibility and container tracking systems in place can oftentimes placate impatient consumers.
Some of the busiest terminals among the world’s major container ports are in the United States. These US ports are essential for promoting international trade, and are key economic hubs as they handle billions of dollars worth of cargo and provide hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Here’s a list and a brief rundown of the top 10 busiest terminals in America that often face port congestion and other shipping delays.
- Port of Los Angeles, California
The Port of Los Angeles, located in San Pedro Bay just 25 miles from downtown LA, is the busiest port in the country. Approximately 20% of all arriving cargo for the US passes through the POLA’s 25 cargo ports. When coupled with the nearby Port of Long Beach, the POLA ranks as the world’s 10th busiest container port and the 19th busiest overall. The Port of Los Angeles handled 10.7 million TEUs and achieved an annual cargo value of $294 billion in 2021.
- Port of Long Beach, California
California also holds the second busiest port in the country, the Port of Long Beach. 90% of the shipments passing via POLB are from East Asia. With connections to 217 seaports across the world, POLB has 22 shipping terminals, six of which handle container ships. In 2021, the Port of Long Beach handled 8.1 million TEUs and made more than $170 billion in trade.
- Port of New York and New Jersey, New York
The third busiest terminal in the United States is the bi-state seaport, The Port of New York and New Jersey. It is the largest terminal on the East Coast, and all the main ocean carriers and international alliances are served by this port and its 6 container terminals. The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 7.4 million TEUs and contributed $205 billion in trade.
- Port of Savannah, Georgia
The Port of Savannah is the fourth busiest port in the United States and the second-largest port on the East Coast. Compared to 2019, Savannah’s overall container commerce increased by 1.8% in 2020. The number has been predicted to increase by 750,000 TEU by 2023. The Port of Savannah moved 5.6 million TEU in 2021.
- Port of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington (The Northwest Seaport Alliance)
The Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma have been jointly operated by the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) since 2015, and are actually America’s third-largest ports in regard to cargo handling. As the fifth busiest port in the United States, the NWSA is a key entry point for Asia-Pacific trade, and moved 3.7 million TEUs in 2021.
- Port Houston, Texas
The sixth busiest terminal in the United States is the Port of Houston, which also happens to be the biggest terminal on the Gulf Coast. Just a few hours’ drive from the Gulf of Mexico, the Port of Houston handles 52% of project cargo through its 200 public and private terminals. It moved 3.5 million TEU in 2021, and is the country’s busiest port for international tonnage.
- Port of Virginia, Virginia
The Port of Virginia is the seventh busiest port in the US, and is among the top busiest ports on the East Coast. Thanks to its advantageous location, it only takes ships about 2.5 hours to reach the open sea. Furthermore, a third of its cargo can easily arrive and depart via its well-connected railway system. The Port of Virginia moved 2.8 million TEU in 2021, and the continued expansion of more terminals has been steadily increasing the port’s overall handling capacity.
- Port of Oakland, California
After the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, and Tacoma, the Port of Oakland is one of the top four Pacific Coast ports for container shipping. Falling into the list as the eighth busiest port in America, the Port of Oakland moved 2.4 million TEUs in 2021, and accounts for more than 99% of the containerized commodities that get transported through Northern California.
- South Carolina Ports, South Carolina
The South Carolina Ports include the Port of Charleston, Port of Georgetown, Inland Port Greer, and Inland Port Dillon. These 4 terminals combined rank as the ninth busiest port in the United States. SC Ports handled 1.29 million TEUs in 2021, and is making progress on handling more in 2022.
- Port of Miami, Florida
One of America’s fastest-growing international ports is PortMiami. Often referred to as the Cruise Capital of the World, Port Miami is the largest passenger port across the world, and contributes $43 billion annually to the economy. Port Miami handled a record 1.25 million TEUs in 2021, and is the top-performing container port in Florida.
Consumer behavior changed during the pandemic, and the population has become incredibly reliant on online shopping. With the continued demand for e-commerce, it’s no wonder that port congestion, shipping delays, and supply shortages are still problems that need to be addressed. Global port congestion and high shipping rates have been forecasted to last into 2023, and with peak shipping season right around the corner, the busiest terminals in America need to brace themselves.
Freight forwarders and NVOCCs should start using freight forwarding management software where they can execute container tracking online.
Managing shipments, container statuses, and customer expectations can be extremely time-consuming, but with the GoFreight container tracking system, all tracking can be done by our web-based freight forwarding software. The best part? Everything can be done online, and you don’t need to install anything.
GoFreight implements EDI integration with carrier and terminal information and users get notified of abnormal containers.
If you’re a freight forwarder, NVOCC, or importer/exporter, you can use the GoFreight container tracking software to stay on top of all your shipment’s real-time information and plan accordingly. Book a demo with us today if you want to optimize your workflow and avoid paying extra demurrage and detention fees when shipments are delayed.
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