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Busiest and Largest US Ports  | We List The Top 10

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America’s economy is the biggest in the world, much of which is fueled by its ports. Even while stil struggling with covid, the American consumer market continues to boom, as evidenced by the related container handling statistics. There are 10 major port facilities in the United States, which handle more than 80% of all container traffic in the country.

Despite the fact that the US has made significant developments in many areas, such as construction and technology, its ports are crucial to its economic development.

About 360 ports exist in the country, with modern infrastructure and equipment capable of handling a variety of cargoes.
Among the world’s major ports and harbours, the US ports and harbours are among the largest, as well as being among the busiest, moving large volumes of cargo.

There are many important container ports in the US on the following list, providing significant economic benefits, and allowing containers to be transported across the oceans, making global trade easier.

Los Angeles Port

You can find the Los Angeles Port at San Pedro Bay. The port is one of the busiest in the United States and is ranked 17th globally. A 43-mile stretch of waterfront runs along the port and is home to 27 terminals, which makes it the biggest. The city is also the biggest importer of automobiles. As a hub for imports and exports of broadcast equipment, it serves as an important trade center. 

A major entry point to Asia, the Los Angeles Port handles a wide variety of cargo, including electrical goods, textiles, and home furnishings. This port has high levels of security and hi-tech systems installed. 

The Port of Savannah

Georgia is home to the port of Savannah. This has a volume of cole sitting at nearly 6 million TEUs last year. It has gone up significantly from 5.3 million TEUs to nearly 6 million in twelve months. The port is important for growth and economic development as it brings in nearly $25 million annually. It also gives 440,000 people a job.

Agricultural and industrial goods pass through here as well, and handles a large amount of chemicals and vehicles which travel as containerized cargo.  


New York/New Jersey Port

This port is 650 miles long. It happens to be the second most active port within the United States. In 2022 it handled 9.4 million. what helps the popuatiryt of this port is its proximity. It allows for easy travel to the United States northeast regions. There is good connectivity to the port since it has everything it needs like waterways, highways and the train system. This means the delivery of cargo is easy and streamlined.

The Port of Houston

The Houston port is located in Texas and is the fifth most busy port for container traffic in the United States, handling over 3.9 million TEUs in 2022. The port is a significant economic driver for the region, generating over 1.35 million jobs and producing more than $265 billion in economic activity annually. Furthermore, it is an important gateway for trade overseas, handling a diverse range of containerized goods such as chemicals, petroleum, and machinery.

The Port of Long Beach 

The Long Beach Port was seeing significant amounts of volume such as 9,133,657 back in 2022. Unfortunately this has decreased – 2.7%. The appeal of this port is its take on environment friendly safety-conscious practices. It is one of the biggest sustainable ports globally. The six terminals are capable of working through neary 2,000 vessel calls. The exports they often deal with are groceries, meat, dairy, cotton and bulk grains. There are a few imports in the form of frozen food and beverages.

San Pedro, United States – March 28, 2018: Ships, containers, and railways at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, California; the busiest seaport on the west coast of the United States, shot wide angle from an altitude of about 1500 feet during a helicopter photo flight.

The Port of Miami

Located in South Florida the Miami Port is another busy port handling just over 1,197,664 TEUs and 1 million in 2021. It’s an open gateway to the Carribbean and Latin America. This port is a huge economic advantage as it brings in $41 billion each year. It also supplies 300,000 jobs. There are a few different terminals here such as the Port Miami which leads to Interstate 95 and downtown Miami which increase the cargo flow without putting more pressure on the traffic congestion. The tunnel is capable of supporting hazardous material and oversized cargos.

Port of Norfolk 

Viginia is where Port Norfolk can be found. The port has 3 parts to it. The north and south terminal and the rail yard. It can handle 3,700,000 TEU.  The main exports are cereal, soybeans, grain, and tobacco. Vegetables, brandy, coffee and nuts are the main imports.

The Port of Virginia supplies $242 million in commerce daily. About 9% of the jobs in Virginia are related to the port. Unfortunately, with it growing over time it is not no big enough. Cargo ships have grown and is now putting pressure on safety and the business itself. The port will need to be widened and made deeper for it to continue successfully.

The South Carolina Port

In 1942 the South Carolina Ports Authority was found and operates at two areas. The Ports of Georgetown and Charlestown. And it operates Dillion and Greer’s inland ports. In 2020 it has 2.3 million TEU but it rose to 2.7 million in 2021. It provides access to the inland rail hubs. The port’s activities contribute greatly to the local economy. It creates 1 in 10 jobs just in South Carolina. Finished passenger vehicles and tires are the top exports from the state.

Port of Charleston

The Charleston Port is another busy container port within the United States. In 2021 it handed 3 million TEU. The port provided 187,000 jobs and mainly exports and imports from the automobile industry.  The Port is an economic heart for the United States and brings in $17 billion annually. There are many terminals like the Welch Terminal that happens to be a very technically advanced one. It is also the ports largest.

Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland is found in the San Francisco area. It is extremely busy as it handles 3,337,125 TEU annually. The port is a main trader with Asia and exports mainly consist of wine, agricultural products and technology. There are two terminals each having ship to shore cranes.
Infrastructure improvements have been made, including a recent crane heightening project to make room for larger ships, and a new rail yard for more efficient intermodal transportation.

The Virginia Port

The port is situated in the Southeast United States and, as of 2022, is one of the largest container ports in the US. It has a container traffic volume of 3,695,156 TEUs. It is vital as it’s the engine of economic growth for the nation. It is the global commerce gateway. The Viginia Port can be found on the east coast of the United States. Due to the direct access that it has to the Atlantic Ocean, ships of varying sizes can get access with obstacles.

There are modern infrastructures, water channels and up to date equipment with rapid response times that appeal to many.

Seattle-Tacoma Port

Seattle-Tacoma is one of the busiest container ports in the United States, with a capacity of approximately 3.4 million TEU in 2022. Port of Seattle is situated in the northwest of the United States and provides access to Asian markets.

Economic activity generated by the port is a significant component of the regional economy, providing jobs to more than 58,000 people and generating $4.3 billion in annual revenue. Containers are handled at four major terminals, with a total of 13 cranes capable of handling the biggest container ships.

What Makes These the Busiest Ports?

I was amazed at the number of ports we have just discussed. Here we are going to have a look at them as a whole and see what exactly makes these ports the busiest. Something you need to take into consideration is the amount of influence that the US has on global trading.  This is due to the wealth and power of the country. 

These 10 ports work as trade hubs and have some importance worldwide. The US is so big and has tons of imports and exports daily. The US is now joining the container manufacturing industry due to the growing number of imports and exports. Another fact is the ports were brought back through history so as the world grew so has the need for more. 

The United States even from centuries ago has always used its waterways properly. Ports were built years ago due to the fact they had projects along the river and coastline. This is when the number of ports needed to grow to keep everything running smoothly. Due to the demand for exports and imports and more countries getting involved in international trades the ports in the us have become some of the busiest.

Are Leasing Charges Affected By the US’s Busiest Ports?

There are several reasons why port traffic is so high, but what about leasing costs? Having understood this, let’s determine how to get the most competitive prices on container leasing for some of the busiest ports. If a port is extremely busy, then you are going to be faced with many delays. When this happens the leasing charges on the port rise in price. Then you have the freight forwarders that go past the free day period, which resulted in high D&D charges.

Sometimes the charges end up costing a lot more than the container is worth. To fix this freight forwarders move their ports over to the east side. They also managed to work with their logistics partners in those free days to save charges. This works well to lower the leasing and freight costs. 

Getting Around D&D Charges in the Busiest US Ports

Utilize supply chain visibility tools to track and monitor shipments in real time. A proactive decision-making process can be enabled by these solutions, which provide accurate details on the location of containers, shipping times, and impending delays, so that congestion-related costs can be avoided.

Identify alternatives to congested ports, including rail transportation and intermodal transportation, to avoid clogged ports. Utilize real-time data from carriers in order to identify alternatives to existing routes or local ports that are less congested or have better infrastructure.

Rent SOC at the Busiest US Ports for Your Next Shipment

SOC containers can be sourced in a number of ways. You can expect a lengthy process if you use traditional sourcing channels. It will be necessary to conduct a background check on container suppliers, agree on pricing and terms, and draft legal documents. In one case, the cargo owner purchases new or used containers, rebrands them and loads them into the container for shipping, or offers them for sale with the export goods (effectively serving as packaging).

There’s also the option to lease containers and make use of them as self-contained units. It doesn’t matter where the container comes from, as long as the carrier delivers the container to the shipper, the carrier will consider it to be the sender’s.

Common FAQ

Which US Port is the Busiest?

Ports of New Jersey and New York are now the busiest in the US. In the year 2022, Portland surpasses Los Angeles as the busiest US port. For many years this port has been on the top of the busiest ports for the huge amount of cargo volume. Several years have seen 9 million TEU turnover.

Which Are the Five Largest Ports in the United States?

The five biggest ports in the United States are the Long Beach Port, the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of New Jersey and New York, the Port of Savannah and the Port of Norfolk.

What is the Second Largest Port in the US?

Long Beach port is the second largest port in the US. The port is well known as the sister to Los Angeles Port because it is in close proximity and is the one known for being most environmentally friendly. Due to recent changes, they have made at the port, it now has an 87% reduction rate of diesel emissions.

It is the gateway for trading with Asia via Trans-Pacific trade. It is important to trade with a few countries that are experiencing economic growth. It also happens to be one of the rare few in the US that are capable of handling some of the biggest vessels globally.


The economy of the United States relies heavily on container ports, which act as points of entry for shipping goods to and from other countries. There have been challenges in the container port industry as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, yet the top 10 keep going strong. Globally, 80% of goods (in terms of volume) is shipped via sea. An increasing percentage of this volume, roughly 35 percent of the volume in total, and more than 60 percent of the value, goes by container. The container port is an important link facilitating global trade and a key component of the growth plans of emerging markets.