The bustling activity at America's seaports added US$5.4 trillion to the economy in 2018 by way of revenue to businesses, personal income and economic output by exporters and importers, reports Transport Topics of Arlington, Virginia.
That's a 17 per cent gain from $4.6 trillion in 2014, according to a recent economic impact study of US ports by Martin Associates of Pennsylvania.
Said its report: "2018 National Economic Impact of the US Coastal Port System" report on March 20 during a meeting of the American Association of Port Authorities [AAPA]."
Said AAPA chief executive Kurt Nagle: "The top-line figures are pretty dramatic. Importantly, it is a significant generator in tax revenues and that obviously can be provided for other public good."
The increase accounts for nearly 26 per cent of the nation's $20.5 trillion economy in 2018 - the same ratio as five years ago when US GDP was $17.4 trillion.
The sizable growth over the past five years emphasises the importance of deep-draft ports, said John Martin, president and founder of Martin Associates.
"The growth in jobs and economic value of America's ports reflects their handling an additional 165 million tons of international cargo since 2014. It also underscores the importance of both the public and private sectors continuing to invest in port and intermodal infrastructure," he said.
Between 2014 and 2018, the total number of jobs supported by cargo moving through America's deep-draft ports increased to 30.8 million from 23.1 million.
Among other gains since 2014: Federal, state and local tax revenues generated by the port sector rose nearly 18 per cent to $378.1 billion from $321.1 billion; personal wages and local consumption rose to $1.4 trillion from $1.1 trillion, and average annual salary of those directly employed by port-related businesses rose 17 per cent to $62,800 from $53,723.