Galveston Harbor Rising in Top 50 U.S. Cargo Rankings

Member Updates,

The Galveston Harbor is rising in the rankings as a top 50 U.S. cargo waterway. A total of 12 million tons of cargo moved through the deep-water harbor in 2021, placing it 43rd among the busiest U.S. ports and waterways.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a 6-percent increase in cargo tonnage over 2020 boosted Galveston’s ranking up two spots in the list of 150 ports and waterways. The ship channel serves the Port of Galveston and private entities operating in the harbor.

In 2022, the port moved more than 4 million tons. In the first quarter of 2023, cargo movements totaled 994,000 tons, up 16 percent over the same period last year. 

Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees said, “We saw growth in almost all types of cargo, including bulk grains, bulk liquids, bulk fertilizer, wind and general cargo, roll-on/roll-off cargos, and new cars.”

Rees added that cargo growth generates more jobs, wages and revenue for the region. In 2021, the port moved 4.3 million tons of cargo, which contributed to the 566,000 hours logged by union workers at the port.  

Cargo Expansion Plans

“We’re a preferred cargo port because of our location,” Rees said. “We’re excited about our plans to improve and expand our West Port Cargo Complex in accordance with our 20-Year Strategic Master Plan. We’ve almost completed engineering for critical improvements to accommodate more cargo business and expand efficient rail access.”

Rees added that the port expects to issue a request for qualifications for a potential public-private partnership for improvements and operations at the cargo complex.

Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, Galveston Wharves has been a thriving maritime commercial center since 1825. Just 45 minutes from open seas, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses.