America’s Busiest Border Towns

Print Email

5. El Paso, Texas
> Truck traffic: 714,699
> Total value of trade: $59.9 billion
> Most traded commodity: Electrical machinery and equipment
> Value of most traded commodity:$20.7 billion

With more than 6 million people entering the U.S. by foot alone at this port last year, El Paso’s border crossing is by far the largest in terms of pedestrian traffic. It is also the busiest port in terms of personal vehicle traffic, with more than 9 million cars crossing the border in 2011. In 2011, $59.9 billion worth of goods was transported through the port. A large percentage of the metro region’s total employment — 7.4% in all — was in the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector, the ninth-highest out of all metropolitan areas.

4. Otay-Mesa, Calif.
> Truck traffic:744,929
> Total value of trade: $33.2 billion
> Most traded commodity: Electrical machinery and equipment
> Value of most traded commodity: $13.7 billion

The Otay-Mesa port is located at the southern tip of California in the San Diego metropolitan area, connecting the U.S. to Tijuana, Mexico. In 2011, approximately $33.2 billion worth of goods were traded at the port. Electrical machinery was the most traded commodity, with $13.7 billion trading hands in 2011. Similar to Calexico, the area has been associated with drug smuggling. Elaborate drug tunnels connecting the two countries and aimed at evading law enforcement officials have been often discovered.

Also Read: The Cities Where Violent Crime is Soaring

3. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
> Truck traffic: 926,447
> Total value of trade: $82.1 billion
> Most traded commodity: Vehicle and vehicle parts
> Value of most traded commodity: $17.0 billion

The port in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area was the busiest port on the East Coast for truck traffic as of 2011, with approximately 926,000 trucks crossing the border. The port was also second to El Paso’s port-of-entry in terms of personal vehicle traffic, with more than 5.9 million cars crossing the border. Vehicle and vehicle parts was the largest commodity passing through the port, with $17 billion worth being carried through in 2011. The port was also the busiest in terms of trade of pharmaceuticals, tobacco and coffee, among others.

2. Detroit, Mich.
> Truck traffic: 1,474,775
> Total value of trade: $120.9 billion
> Most traded commodity: Vehicle and vehicle parts
> Value of most traded commodity: $48.7 billion

More than $120 billion worth of commodities passed through Detroit’s port-of entry in 2011. By far, the most common commodity moved through the port in terms of value was vehicles and vehicle parts, with about $48.7 billion worth traded in 2011. The ports have had a significant impact on the regional economy. A study by Martin Associates, an economic consulting firm, found that in 2010, cargo and vessel activities boosted state and federal coffers by nearly $290 million and led to more than $255 million in compensation for the approximately 5,600 employees within the Detroit port system.

Also Read: The Cities Where Everyone Has a Job

1. Laredo, Texas
> Truck traffic: 1,695,916
> Total value of trade: $144.9 billion
> Most traded commodity: Vehicles and vehicle parts
> Value of most traded commodity: $34.0 billion

There were nearly 1.7 million truck crossings at Laredo’s port in 2011, with almost 1.3 million of those trucks containing goods at the time of entry. The port was also the fourth-busiest in terms of passenger vehicle traffic, second for train traffic, and third for pedestrian traffic. Trade activity is a vital component to the economy of Laredo. As of 2011, 11% of those employed in the Laredo metropolitan area worked in transportation, warehousing and utilities, tied for the second-most among all metro areas in the country.

Follow Samuel on Twitter: SWeigley

RSS Facebook Twitter