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Port of Houston No. 1 in the U.S. by Cargo Volume

Published Nov 30, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta

Houston Port

The Port of Houston is now the number one port in the nation by total tonnage of goods moved, according to new figures for the 2019 calendar year. 

The Port, which is comprised of the public and private terminals that line the Houston Ship Channel, has long been No. 1 when it comes to foreign tonnage moved. But the new figures from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show the local complex handled 285 million tons of cargo in total last year, about 47 million tons more than any other U.S. port and a 6% increase over 2018. The Port of South Louisiana previously held the No. 1 spot for most total cargo handled. 

The Port of Houston is also first in the nation in terms of vessel transits, handling on average 50 deep water vessels per day. 

The Port is comprised of Port Houston’s eight public terminals and almost 200 private terminals situated along the Houston Ship Channel. Port of Houston drives $802 billion in annual national economic value and supports more than 3 million U.S. jobs, according to Port officials. 

“The Port of Houston is the undisputed leader nationally as a result of the continued growth of commerce that moves through the busiest waterway in the U.S.,” said Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther. “When you consider the strategic importance of Houston to America’s energy sector, its economic value as the leading export region, and the rapid expansion of imported goods to meet consumer demand of a large and growing population, it clearly highlights the need to expedite the improvements of the Houston Ship Channel to ensure safe and efficient trade for the nation.”

As the local sponsor and an advocate of the Houston Ship Channel, Port Houston currently is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private industry on a plan to expand the channel at an accelerated pace. Work is slated to begin as early as next year on the project that will widen and deepen the channel. 

See the latest trade data and learn more about international business in Houston
 

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Houston has long been considered one of the youngest, fastest-growing, and most diverse cities in the nation— one with no ethnic majority and where nearly one-in-four residents are foreign-born. For the second year in a row, one ranking in particular has positioned Houston as the most diverse city in the nation. The report from personal finance site WalletHub compared 501 of the most populated cities in the nation, ranking them across five key dimensions: socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, household diversity, and religious diversity. “It’s important to embrace diversity – and it’s good for the economy, too. Not only have waves of immigration changed the face of the nation, they’ve also brought in fresh perspectives, skills and technologies to help the U.S. develop a strong adaptability to change. Economies generally fare better when they openly embrace and capitalize on new ideas,” explained WalletHub. While not reaching the top-spot of any one category, Houston ranked No. 1 overall with a diversity score of 71.87.  Here is how Houston scored in the 5 categories:  •    Socioeconomic Diversity: 96 •    Cultural Diversity: 31 •    Economic Diversity: 125 •    Household Diversity: 136 •    Religious Diversity: 53 “There is a consistent pattern in the literature that diversity (whether that is measured by race, religion, or immigration status) tends to lead to greater productivity and growth in cities,” Ryan Muldoon, Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor, Director of Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York told WalletHub when asked if there is a relationship between diversity and economic growth in cities.  According to research from the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. city and had a population of 2,320,268 as of July 1, 2019, and nearly one in four Houstonians was born outside the U.S. Among the 1,648,768 foreign-born in the Houston metro area, 73.5% entered the U.S. before 2010.  A number of reports and analyses in recent years have named Houston among the most diverse cities in the U.S., often putting the Bayou City in the top spot.  WalletHub conducted their analysis by using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index method, which is a commonly accepted measure of market concentration that also works effectively as a general-purpose measure of diversity.  Learn more about Houston’s demographics here.  Learn more about living in Houston here. 
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