Measured by value of goods handled, John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York maintained its position as the top U.S. international freight gateway in 2005. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' recently released annual report, JFK handled $59.3 billion in export trade and $75.6 billion in imports, totaling $134.9 billion in merchandise, in 2005.
JFK airport has been the number one U.S. international gateway by value for all but one year between 1999 and 2005, the exception being 2003, when the water Port of Los Angeles took the top spot. In 2005, JFK handled $547 million more freight than the second largest gateway, the Port of Los Angeles. Ranked third is the land port of Detroit, with $131 billion.
On a regional multimodal basis, Los Angeles-area gateways handled $51 billion more trade in 2005 than the air and water ports in the New York-New Jersey area. The water ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach combined with Los Angeles International Airport processed about $332 billion of trade, topping the combined $281 billion that moved through the New York-New Jersey area $135 billion through JFK, $16 billion through Newark-Liberty International Airport and $130 billion through the water Port of New York and New Jersey.
The top U.S. freight gateways serve as national and multi-state regional trade gateways, in addition to serving local markets. The top gateways handle freight originating or terminating far outside their local markets. For example, 70 percent of shipments (measured by value) passing through Detroit, the busiest U.S. land port, originate or terminate outside Michigan. At the busiest U.S.-Mexico port, Laredo, 74 percent of shipments by value start or end outside Texas.
In 2005, over $2.5 trillion in U.S. exports and imports moved through more than 400 international freight gateways across the United States. The top 20 international freight gateways handled nearly $1.5 trillion or 57.7 percent of all U.S. international freight.