Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast

A transformation has taken place at U.S. ports along Gulf of Mexico. Those devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were forced to rebuild. Gulfport’s work is not yet finished. The Great Recession further impacted the region’s economy. The new bigger locks the Panama Canal offer hope for a resurgence of shipping activity along the U.S. Gulf Coast as ports gear up for new trade from Asia. While some ports are building container volumes in north-south trade and on routes to and from Europe, the Mediterranean, Mideast and Africa, others are targeting growth in breakbulk cargoes, and one port — Corpus Christi — is poised to see explosive growth in energy-based exports. With billions of dollars of agriculture products, pharmaceuticals and manufactured goods crossing the U.S. border with Mexico each year, logistics companies and railroads are looking at ways to ease and expand the flow of trade with the U.S.’s southern neighbor. This page includes information about the ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast, the region’s infrastructure projects, its trade and company supply chains.

Special Coverage

Dockworker at the Port of Savannah
The new or extended contract being explored by International Longshoremen’s Association and its East and Gulf Coast employers could run until 2025, seven years beyond the current agreement’s 2018 expiration.

News & Analysis

16 Sep 2015
Officials of the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance said they’re committed to trying to work out East and Gulf coast port labor contract that would extend to 2025.
trucks line up at gates at Oakland port
25 Aug 2015
The Port of Oakland’s announcement last week that it intends to open its terminal gates an extra day each week demonstrates two hard, cold facts about U.S. port operations in this era of big ships. The traditional menu of five weekday gates each week is no longer adequate to handle today’s cargo volumes, but extra gates cost money, and someone — often the shipper — has to pick up the tab.
05 Aug 2015
Eight ports on the U.S. East Coast made substantial gains in import market share in the first six months of 2015. A booming import market, West Coast diversions tied to the recent labor crisis, and port investments helped East and Gulf Coast ports edge out all but one of their West Coast counterparts.
Port of Houston
12 Jun 2015
U.S. Gulf ports’ container traffic started strong in 2015, with more than a little help from slowdowns and congestion that hobbled West Coast ports and made shippers look for alternatives.
Port Manatee, Florida
08 Jun 2015
Carlos Buqueras says Port Manatee on Tampa Bay reminds him of Port Everglades, Florida, more than 20 years ago. Buqueras, port executive director, said the port is poised to take advantage of its location, deep channel and undeveloped property.
Port of New Orleans
07 Jun 2015
Appointment systems to meter the flow of trucks are an increasingly popular topic among container terminals. The Port of New Orleans has a head start of more than a decade.


The International Longshoremen's Association, in opening the door to the possibility of a long-term contract, certainly is looking to capitalize on the congestion and raw memories of the recent past that have put West Coast ports in shipper crosshairs. The ILA, indeed, is preying on that shipper sentiment, and the soon-to-open expanded Panama Canal that could shift more cargo from West Coast to East Coast. And who can blame it? That’s business.


Roger Guenther, executive director, Port of Houston Authority, discusses trade lane growth, specifically with Asia and South America, the renaissance in the energy sector, and planning for future expansions at the port.