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PPFS Annual Report to Congress 2016

Maritime ports are a major component of the Nation’s freight transportation system. Collectively they handle 75 percent of America’s international trade by volume. 1 Port throughput (the typical amount of cargo a port handles annually) and capacity (the port’s maximum annual throughput) are critical concerns for the Nation’s commerce and well-being. In Section 6018 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Congress requires the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to establish “a port performance statistics program to provide nationally consistent measures of performance of, at a minimum—the Nation's top 25 ports by tonnage, the Nation's top 25 ports by 20-foot equivalent unit; and the Nation's top 25 ports by dry bulk… [and] submit an annual report to Congress that includes statistics on capacity and throughput at the ports.”2 Since BTS is a principal Federal statistical agency, these measures must be objective, the methods of measurement must be transparent, and published statistics must meet reasonable quality standards.3 The Port Performance Freight Statistics Working Group (Working Group), composed of representatives from Federal, labor, port, private sector associations, and other organizations as specified in FAST Act Section 6018, advised BTS during preparation of the first report and transmitted final recommendations to the BTS Director on December 4, 2016. The Working Group’s recommendations will be evaluated for future implementation. With only a year to convene this advisory Working Group and produce the first report, BTS limited its initial efforts to publishing existing, nationally consistent measures of port capacity and throughput. BTS plans to expand and improve the measures in future editions of the Port Performance Freight Statistics Annual Report (Annual Report) as resources and appropriations permit. This first edition of the Annual Report explains the criteria used to define ports and the measures used to determine the top 25 ports in each category; describes the nationally consistent measures of port capacity and throughput that are currently available; and outlines plans for BTS to expand and improve statistics on port capacity and throughput in the future. Section 5 contains selected statistics for each port in the top 25 lists. Appendix A contains the complete text of the FAST Act requirements. Comments on this report are welcomed and should be sent to or to the Port Performance Freight Statistics Program, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, 20590.