Port Statistics

Trade Highlights and
Performance Data

The Houston Ship Channel complex and its more than 200 public and private facilities is the nation’s largest port for waterborne tonnage, and an essential economic engine for the Houston region, the state of Texas, and the U.S.

Economic Impact of the Houston Ship Channel

As one of the world’s busiest waterways, the Houston Ship Channel is a large and vibrant component of the regional economy. A 2018 study by Martin Associates reports that Houston Ship Channel-related businesses contribute 1,350,695 jobs throughout Texas, up 15 percent compared to a 2014 study. This activity helps generate more than $339 billion in statewide economic value, up nearly 28 percent. Additionally, nearly $5.7 billion in state and local tax revenues are generated by business activities related to the port, up 12.7 percent.

Click to download the full state impact report.

Click to download a state impact summary document.

Click to download the national impact report.

Statistical Highlights for Port Houston

  • 7th ranked U.S. container port by total TEUs

  • Largest Gulf Coast container port, handling 70% of U.S. Gulf Coast container traffic

  • Largest Texas port with 97% market share in containers

Statistical Highlights for the Houston Ship Channel complex

  • 1st ranked U.S. port in foreign waterborne tonnage – 193.8 million short tons (2021)

  • 1st ranked U.S. port in total foreign and domestic waterborne tonnage – 276 million short tons (2020)

  • 3rd ranked U.S. port in terms of total foreign cargo value ($169.7 billion) 2021

  • Largest Texas port with 35% of market share by tonnage

Sources: USACE Navigation Data Center (facts 1,2), U.S. Dept. of Commerce Bureau of Census, Customs Data from Census Bureau (fact 3), Journal of Commerce PIERS (facts 4 and 5), American Association of Port Authorities (fact 6).


Statistical Data in Depth