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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. ranks second in maritime container traffic - BTS Report


Even though U.S. container trade is about double what it was a decade ago, the United States still ranks second to China in world maritime container traffic, according to a report issued recently from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

An estimated 46.3 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) passed through U.S. ports in 2006, up from 22.6 million in 1996, according to “America’s Container Ports: Delivering the Goods,” a report developed by BTS, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Two-thirds of the containers are imported into the United States.

China surpassed the United States on the container-traffic list in 1998.

Other BTS report findings:

* U.S. container traffic is becoming more concentrated as larger, faster and more specialized vessels call at the limited number of ports capable of handling them. The top 10 U.S. container ports (measured in TEUs) accounted for 85 percent of U.S. containerized traffic in 2005, up from 78 percent in 1995.

* Nearly 55 percent of U.S. containerized merchandise trade (measured in TEUs) passed through west coast ports in 2005, up from 42 percent in 1980.

* U.S. maritime ports are handling larger container vessels, as measured by the average vessel size per call. The average size per call of container vessels calling at U.S. ports was nearly 45,000 deadweight tons (dwt) in 2005, up from 38,000 dwt in 2000.

* Nearly 26 million containers of various sizes entered the United States by all modes of transportation in 2005, up 37 percent from 19 million in 2000. Of those containers, more than 15 million entered the nation by truck and rail from Canada and Mexico in 2005; the remaining 11 million were ocean-borne.

To download “America’s Container Ports: Delivering the Goods,” click>here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/24/2007