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According to the North American Ports Report by Cushman and Wakefield, U.S. ports rebounded strongly in the second half of 2020. Volumes for the full year changed only modestly—a 2 percent increase in loaded inbound twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and a decline of 5.5 percent on loaded export units.

Other findings include the following:

  • The trend toward larger vessels continues. Along with consolidation of the major ocean lines into three powerful alliances, this translated to fewer port calls and to a further concentration of volume to the largest ports.
  • In 2020, there was no shift in East Coast/West Coast port coastal shares, marking a pause in a decade-long trend that favored the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast.
  • Strong performances were delivered on import volumes at New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) and Savannah, as well as Houston on the Gulf Coast. Overall, import growth on the Atlantic ports that Cushman and Wakefield tracks was a modest 1.3 percent.