The United States is one of the world's largest trading nations, with
nearly $6 trillion in exports and imports of goods and services in 2021 (the
latest year available). Growth in U.S.-international trade and transportation has
continued at a phenomenal pace following the shift in consumer spending due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nation’s ports have been burdened by workforce, equipment shortages, and container vessel backups, as well as domestic and global supply-chain
disruptions. However, they continue to handle unprecedented amounts of cargo. Total trade in goods was more than $4.6 trillion (77 percent) in 2021, increasing year-over-year by nearly $835 billion (22 percent). Further, U.S. imports of goods grew by almost $506 billion (22 percent) while export of goods grew by more than $329 billion (23 percent) between 2020 and 2021. 
Waterborne vessels are the leading transportation mode for U.S.-international trade in goods, moving 41 percent of U.S.-international trade value in 2021—almost $1.9 trillion and nearly 1.9 million short tons (69 percent of the weight).  In the 1st half of 2022, vessels continued to transport the majority of U.S.-international freight, moving more than $1.1 trillion (43 percent), two-thirds of which was containerized. The following figure shows the total (a11) monthly U.S.-international freight value transported by vessel (containerized and noncontainerized), including both imports and exports.