AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Metrics: NAFTA Containers 2015

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NAFTA Region Port Container Traffic Set Records in 2015

Port container traffic volumes within the geo-political region encompassed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) reached a record high in 2015 of nearly 59.2 million TEUs. That was up 4.1 percent from the previous record year of 2014 and exceeded the box count of two decades ago by 234 percent.  

Record highs were posted as well by the NAFTA partners individually– Canada (+6.9 percent), Mexico (+7.2 percent), and the United States (+3.4 percent).  

From a long term perspective, Mexican ports have outperformed their northern neighbors by a substantial margin, with container trade growth since 1995 averaging 12.4 percent annually, compared to 6.4 percent for Canada, 4.0 percent for the United States and 4.6 percent for the region overall. View detailed statistics here.

The data come from AAPA surveys and include loaded containers inbound and outbound as well as empties handled in foreign and domestic trade.

In 2015, approximately 70 percent of NAFTA region ports experienced box traffic gains. Among the percentage growth leaders were Coatzacoalcos (Mexico), Portland (ME), Cleveland, Port Manatee, Everett, Ensenada, and Prince Rupert. TEU counts exceeding 6.0 million and 2.0 million TEUs for the first time ever were posted by the ports of New York & New Jersey and Houston, respectively.

Los Angeles and Long Beach remained the leading container ports in the NAFTA region and indeed the entire Western Hemisphere. Others among the top five were New York/New Jersey, Savannah, and the Northwest Seaport Alliance - Seattle/Tacoma. Vancouver, Montreal, Prince Rupert and Halifax ranked highest in Canada, while Manzanillo, Lázaro Cárdenas, Veracruz, and Altamira were the leaders in Mexico.  

The top five U.S. ports Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Savannah and the Northwest Seaport Alliance accounted for 60 percent, the top 10 for 81 percent, and the top 25 for 98 percent of total 2015 U.S. container traffic measured in TEUs.

View container traffic profiles of 73 Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. ports, with data as available on TEUs, boxes, and metric tons of containerized cargo. View rankings of the 50 top NAFTA area ports based on 2015 TEU throughput.

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