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

It’s a boom time at U.S. Gulf ports for imports of steel and project cargoes. From Florida to Texas, the region’s ports are enjoying a second year of increased import volumes, driven by a strong dollar and U.S. economic growth.

News & Analysis

23 Nov 2015
In 2004, Gary LaGrange set an ambitious goal: Within a decade, the CEO of the Port of New Orleans wanted the port to handle more than 500,000 20-foot-equivalent container units a year. Despite Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession, New Orleans met that goal.
21 Nov 2015
The Port of Mobile is expanding terminal capacity and building an adjacent $36 million intermodal container transfer facility. The projects, set for completion in 2016, will increase its terminal’s 350,000-TEU capacity to 475,000 TEUs.
05 Nov 2015
The contract negotiation process between the International Longshoremen’s Association on the East and Gulf coasts and management is on firm footing and in need of no change, according to Tom Simmers, executive president of United States Maritime Alliance.
29 Oct 2015
A senior leader of the International Longshoreman’s Association expressed optimism on Wednesday over a multiyear contract extension with East and Gulf Coast employers but said it won’t happen by the end of the year.
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.


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.