TD 11-4c: Top 20 ports – percentage of total of all ports – 2011


  United States

Section 5-10 of EP 1130-2-520, provides guidance on additions, modifications, or deletions of Corps projects, which include ports used in the calculation of port totals. The ports defined by the Corps do not correlate precisely to other port types such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection?s district and port codes. ‘NS’ indicates an insignificant percentage defined as a value of < .05%.

Foreign commerce is waterborne import, export and in-transit traffic between the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and any foreign country. These statistics do not include traffic between any foreign country and the United States Territories and Possessions (American Samoa, Guam, North Mariana Islands and U.S. Outlying Islands). Beginning with the calendar year 2000 publication, foreign waterborne import, export and in-transit cargo statistics are derived primarily from data purchased from the Port Import Export Reporting Service, a division of the Commonwealth Business Media, Inc. and supplemented by data furnished to the Corps of Engineers by the U.S. Bureau of the Census and Border Protection and the U.S. Customs. Foreign cargo is matched to vessel moves to improve geographic specificity. The Republic of Panama is considered a foreign country. However, individual vessel movements with origin and destination at United States ports traveling via the Panama Canal are considered domestic traffic. Alaskan crude oil (origin at Valdez, AK) shipped via the Panama pipeline (west to east) and destined for gulf and east coast ports is also considered domestic commerce. Import and export shipments for use of the United States Armed Forces abroad are not reported to the Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center (WCSC). Beginning with calendar year 1989, shipments under the military assistance program of the Department of Defense are included in the statistics under the appropriate commodity code. In prior years these cargoes were given as commodity code 9999.

Foreign cargo tonnage includes the following traffic types: waterborne imports (receipts), exports (shipments), inbound in-transit, and outbound in-transit merchandise.

Definitions for foreign receipts and shipments:

Foreign Receipts: Inbound merchandise originating in foreign countries and arriving by marine vessel for direct U.S. consumption and entries into custom bonded storage and manufacturing warehouses. *(Includes inbound in-transit)

Foreign Shipments: Outbound domestic merchandise and re-export of foreign merchandise from a U.S. foreign trade zone shipped by marine vessel to foreign countries.

Intra-waterway and through traffic are not applicable to foreign data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Inbound in-transits: Merchandise coming into the United States by marine vessel from a foreign country and shipped to a foreign country without having been entered as an import. In-transit merchandise is treated as receipt when unloaded from a marine vessel

Outbound in-transits: Merchandise coming into the United States from a foreign country and shipped by marine vessel to a foreign country without having been entered as an import. In-transit merchandise is treated as shipment when loaded onto a marine vessel.

The majority of the tonnage in the Army Corps foreign data sets is comprised of PIERS manifest data. Foreign Trade data are used in conditions where PIER manifest data are not available. Census Foreign Trade data contain a low value threshold of $US 2,500 for exports and $US 2,000 for imports. The corresponding tonnage left out of the Army Corps data sets because of this threshold is negligible at less than 0.1%.

Domestic cargo tonnage geographic coverage includes the contiguous and non-contiguous states and territories that constitute the geographical space upon which domestic commerce may be transported. This includes Hawaii, Alaska, the 48 contiguous states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Wake Island and the U.S. Trust Territories.

Also included are trans-shipments as follows:

Ports and offshore anchorages where cargo is moved from one vessel to another. These are: St. Lucia, Virgin Islands; Heald Bank off the Louisiana and Texas coasts; Chiriquí Grande, Panama; Puerto Armuelles, Panama; and Hondo Platform-Pacific Ocean. The waterborne traffic movements are reported to the Corps of Engineers by all vessel operators of record on ENG Forms 3925 and 3925b (or equivalent) approved by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3510(a)). The reports are generally submitted on the basis of individual vessel movements completed. For movements with cargo, the point of loading and the point of unloading of each individual commodity must be delineated. Cargo moved for the military agencies in commercial vessels is reported as ordinary commercial cargo; military cargo movements in Department of Defense vessels are not collected. The following movements are excluded: Cargo carried on general ferries; coal and petroleum products loaded from shore facilities directly into bunkers of vessels for fuel; and insignificant amounts of government materials (less than 100 tons) moved on government owned equipment in support of Corps projects.

Definitions for Domestic Receipts and Shipments:

Domestic Receipts: Traffic moving from one location to another where the destination is within the limits of the subject port.

Domestic Shipments: Traffic moving from one location to another where the origin is within the limits of the subject port.

Intraport: Movement of freight within the confines of a port whether the port has one or several arms or channels included in the port definition. This traffic type will not include car-ferries and general ferries moving within a port.

Through traffic is not included in data provided the NATS database:

Army Corps Vessel entrance and clearance data are inbound and outbound vessel movement trips. For self-propelled vessels, a trip is logged between every point of departure and every point of arrival. For loaded barges, a trip is logged from the point of the loading of the barge to the point of unloading of the barge (i.e., excluding fleeting areas). For empty barges, trips are logged from point of unloading to the point of loading counting the fleeting areas in between (e.g. if an empty barge moved from Dock A to Dock B and the barge stopped at three fleeting areas in between, then four trips are logged). Some towboat trips and empty barge moves are estimated from a sample to expedite processing and reduce costs. The number of trips also includes vessels engaged in foreign trade. These moves are furnished by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP collects entrances and clearances of commercial vessels direct to/from foreign and by permit to proceed coastwise in the U.S. carrying foreign cargo. Guidance on the scope of coverage for foreign vessel entrances and clearances can be found at 19CFR4.