The Port of New York and New Jersey regained the top spot as the busiest shipping port in the country, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Although U.S. port activity is typically quieter in February due to overseas production slowdowns and closures related to the Lunar New Year holiday, the Port Authority’s five metro area ports remained busy, moving 571,177 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of cargo, surpassing West Coast rivals such as the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach by 83,000 TEUs and 27,000 TEUs, respectively.
In January, the Port of New York and New Jersey handled 645,430 TEUs, making it the second-busiest trade hub behind the Port of Los Angeles, which processed 726,013 containers during that month.
Altogether, the New York and New Jersey ports moved more than 1.2 million TEUs in the first two months of 2023, the highest amount of cargo recorded among U.S. ports.
In a statement, Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, “The Port of New York and New Jersey’s return to the top spot as the nation’s busiest demonstrates the port’s continued reliability and consistency as other ports experienced uncertainty and challenges recently.”
“Shippers and retailers know they can rely on the Port of New York and New Jersey to move their cargo quickly month-in and month-out, and that trust is a result of our deep relationships and collaboration with all links in the regional supply chain,” Cotton stated.
According to the Port Authority, the local port has been particularly active in clearing out its empty container inventory, removing more than 390,000 TEUs so far this year. Doing so has helped improve operations and fluidity, ensuring that more container terminal space is available for imports to be processed more quickly, the agency said.
Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said, “After years of unprecedented cargo growth, we are using this traditionally slow period to work with our port stakeholders who need to increase capacity throughout the regional supply chain.”
O’Toole went on to say, “We expect a stronger second half of the year, as we have been in discussions with many importers that shifted volume to us from elsewhere and are now committed to keeping that volume in our gateway.”
Since 2017, the port has steadily increased the number of containers moved annually. Last year, it benefited from the threat of labor strikes at West Coast ports, which prompted logistics managers to re-route trade.
In 2022, the Port of New York and New Jersey handled a record-breaking 9.5 million TEUs to become the second busiest in the country. Additionally, for the four-month period between August 2022 and November 2022, it was the No. 1 port of call.