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U.S. Public Port Overview
Public port authorities are usually established by enactments of state government to promote the flow of waterborne commerce and act as catalysts for economic growth. In addition to maritime goods movement, port authority activities may also include jurisdiction over cruise terminals, airports, bridges, tunnels, commuter rail systems, inland river or shallow draft barge terminals, industrial parks, Foreign Trade Zones, world trade centers, terminal or short-line railroads, ship yards, dredging, marinas and other public recreational facilities.

In the U.S., 126 public seaports agencies have jurisdiction over 185 public ports. Ports on coasts and inland waterways provide about 3,200 berths for deep-draft (>12ft.) ships. While there are also some private ports, public port authorities often serve as landlords for private industry activities.

The largest 80+ public port authorities are members of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). EPA has had a voluntary partnership with AAPA since 2003 to help their members proactively improve their environmental performance.


U.S. Ports

Map of U.S. Ports

Inland Ports

Great Lakes Ports. The Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario - form the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth. More than 30 million people live in the Great Lakes basin, and the daily activities of these people, from the water consumed to the waste returned, directly affects the Great Lakes environment.

Port of Huntinton TriState Collaborative Geographic Initiative

Green Marine Program Briefing. Green Marine is a voluntary, industry sustainability initiative intended to:

  • Strengthen environmental performance through a process of continuous improvement
  • Build strong relations with Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Waterway stakeholders, and
  • Heighten understanding of the industry’s activities and environmental benefits.

EPA Report: Commercial Marine Activity for Great Lake and Inland River Ports in the United States (Sept. 1999)

Muskegon Lake Eco-EMS Report. An detailed assessment report on the Muskegon, Michigan harbors, marinas, and related infrastructure with emphasis on land, water, air and economics.

River Ports
EPA Report: Commercial Marine Activity for Great Lake and Inland River Ports in the United States (Sept. 1999)

Port Highlights

Summary of Boston's Massport

Summary of Port Authority NY/NJ

Bridgeport Port Authority

Port of Los Angeles, CA. A list of reports that can be downloaded.

Port of Portland's International Institute for Seaport Sustainability

Port of Seattle's Sustainable Asset Managment & Managing Environmental Costs

Maryland Port Administration Dredge Material Management Program

Port of Baltimore Green Ports Initiative

Port of Houston Bayport Sustainable Development

Port of Long Beach Green Ports Policy

Panama Canal Green Initiatives

Photo Gallery

New Bedford

Port Associations

National Port Associations
American Association of Port Authorities
Harbors, Navigation and Environment (HNE) Committee

Regional Port Associations
North Atlantic Ports Association
South Atlantic Marine Transportation System Organization
American Great Lakes Port Association
Pacific Northwest Waterway Association
California Association of Port Authorities
San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan
Gulf Port Association of the Americas

Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Waterway
American Great Lakes Port Association
Lake Carriers’ Association
Great Lakes Commission
Great Lakes Cruising Coalition
Highway H2O

River Port
Waterways Council Inc.

American Waterway Operators

International Association of Ports and Harbors

International Maritime Organization

Global Integrated Shipping Information System