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.
29 Jul 2014
Dredging has begun on the first of two projects to deepen the Port of Houston’s container terminal channels from 40 to 45 feet, matching the depth of the Houston Ship Channel.
Cotton harvesting in Texas. Source: USDA, ARS. Photo by David Nance.
03 Jul 2014
The widening of the Panama Canal could eventually lead to a 90 percent increase in cotton exports for U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, and a 66 percent reduction in cotton exports through West Coast ports.
27 Jun 2014
Chiquita will remain a port tenant at Gulfport, Mississippi, for six more months before moving to New Orleans.
11 Jun 2014
TCI Plastics is expanding its petrochemicals bagging operation at the Port of New Orleans to more than triple the facility’s annual capacity to 68,000 20-foot-equivalent units of containers.
09 Jun 2014
Port Freeport is expanding its container-handling operations to meet expected growth in petrochemicals shipments.


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.