Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Freight Facts and Figures 2013

Figure 3-2. Top 25 U.S.-International Trade Freight Gateways by Value of Shipments: 2011

Transportation facilities that move international trade into and out of the United States demonstrate the importance of all modes and intermodal combinations to global connectivity. The top 25 foreign-trade gateways measured by value of shipments are comprised of 11 water ports, 5 land-border crossings, and 9 air gateways.

Figure 3-2

Figure 3-2. U.S. map showing that the top international gateways include the Port of Seattle, San Francisco International Airport, Port of Oakland, Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Los Angeles International Airport, Anchorage International Airport, El Paso Border Crossing, Dallas-Fort Worth Airports, Laredo Border Crossing, Port of Houston, Port of New Orleans, Memphis/New Orleans Airports, Chicago Airports, Detroit Bridges, Port of Huron Bridges, Cleveland/Louisville Airports, Miami International Airport, Port of Savannah, Port of Charleston, Port of Norfolk, Port of Baltimore, JFK International Airport, Port of New York, and Buffalo-Niagara Bridges.

[JPEG 1.23MB, PDF 1.08MB]

Data represented in the figure.

Table in Excel format

Billions of dollars

Gateway Mode Rank Exports Imports Total
Los Angeles, CA Water 1 44.2 170.4 214.6
New York, NY Water 2 56.9 150.2 207.1
John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY Air 3 96.1 93.8 189.9
Houston, TX Water 4 87.3 80.3 167.6
Long Beach, CA Water 5 34.4 119.0 153.4
Laredo, TX Land 6 67.9 77.0 144.9
Detroit, MI Land 7 65.8 55.1 120.9
Chicago, IL Air 8 35.9 79.6 115.5
Los Angeles International Airport, CA Air 9 40.5 42.7 83.2
Port Huron, MI Land 10 39.9 43.1 83.0
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY Land 11 44.0 38.0 82.0
Savannah, GA Water 12 30.9 40.7 71.7
Miami International Airport, FL Air 13 40.9 20.1 61.0
El Paso, TX Land 14 26.8 33.1 59.9
New Orleans, LA Air 15 24.0 35.1 59.1
Charleston, SC Water 16 22.2 36.7 58.9
Norfolk, VA Water 17 28.2 29.5 57.7
Baltimore, MD Water 18 20.5 30.6 51.1
San Francisco International Airport, CA Air 19 26.5 23.8 50.3
Oakland, CA Water 20 18.1 28.0 46.1
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX Air 21 17.0 28.6 45.6
Anchorage, AK Air 22 9.9 34.5 44.5
Seattle, WA Water 23 14.0 29.2 43.1
New Orleans, LA Water 24 23.2 19.2 42.4
Cleveland, OH Air 25 22.7 15.2 37.9


All data: Trade levels reflect the mode of transportation as a shipment enters or exits at a border port. Flows through individual ports are based on reported data collected from U.S. trade documents. Trade does not include low-value shipments. (In general, these are imports valued at less than $1,250 and exports that are valued at less than $2,500).

Air: Data for all air gateways include a low level (generally less than 2%-3% of the total value) of small user-fee airports located in the same region. Air gateways not identified by airport name (e.g., Chicago, IL, and others) include major airport(s) in that geographic area in addition to small regional airports. In addition, due to U.S. Census Bureau confidentiality regulations, data for courier operations are included in the airport totals for JFK International Airport, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Anchorage.


Air: U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division, special tabulation, October 2012.

Water: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Navigation Data Center, personal communication, as cited in U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, table 1-51, available at as of October 2012.

Land: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, North American TransBorder Freight Data, special tabulation, available at as of October 2012; as reported in U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics, available at as of October 8, 2013.

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