On a typical weekday in 2009, a total of more than 81,000 individual container units entered the United States by ocean vessel, truck, and rail. In 2000, the figure was about 71,000 units per day.
Oceanborne containers represent less than half the container traffic entering the United States. Overall in 2009, there were more than 21 million container entries into the United States by all modes of transportation, down 14 percent from nearly 25 million in 2008. Of those containers, over 11 million entered the Nation by truck and rail from Canada and Mexico, compared to 10 million by water (table 7). Between 2008 and 2009, the number of both maritime and truck container units (loaded and unloaded) crossing into the United States declined by 13 percent, while rail container units declined by 21 percent. Irrespective of these declines, the large number of containers crossing by land into the United States reflects the importance of U.S. trade with two of its top three trading partners.16
16 In 2009, the top 3 U.S. trading partners were Canada, China, and Mexico.