Marine Ports and Cargo

NOEP presents the Ports and Cargo section because Seaports are an important part of the ocean and coastal economies. Whether people live inland or along the coast, they are dependent on US ports and maintaining healthy coasts that support them:

  • Nearly all of the country‚Äôs overseas cargo moves through them: 99.4% by weight and 64.1 percent by value.
  • Over $4.2 billion worth of foreign trade goods moved in and out of U.S. seaports each day of 2015.
  • 1.4 billion tons of import/export cargo move annually.
  • Seaports support employment of > 23 million people in the U.S. *
  • Port activities generate $4.6 trillion in economic activity annually. *
  • Every $1 billion in exports shipped though seaports, creates 15,000 U.S. jobs. **

Ports provide multiple services to the public: they are the nexus for business transactions for imported and exported goods; they serve as environmental stewards of our coastlines, spending millions of dollars annually to minimize impacts of port operations on their surrounding communities and natural resources; and they serve as local economic engines, generating jobs and opportunities that allow businesses to flourish.

***In 2010, 7,579 oceangoing vessels made 62,747 calls at U.S. ports. Of the 2010 calls,

  • 35 percent were by tankers carrying oil and gas used to power our cars and heat our homes,
  • 31 percent were by containerships carrying general export and import cargo for markets around the U.S. and the world,
  • 17 percent were by dry bulk vessels carrying iron, coal and grain for export,
  • 9 percent were by roll-on roll-off vessels carrying vehicles for import and export, and
  • 6 percent were by general cargo ships.

*The source of this information is from the website for The American Association of Port Authorities
** 2011 Maritime Administration Report (see website above)
***The Vessel Calls Snapshot, 2011 report, US Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration

updated 11-Aug-2017