TREND: With the Covid-19 crisis dominating 2020, sharp decreases were seen at the top U.S. land ports of entry in terms of both truck crossings with loaded containers and total passenger and pedestrian crossings compared to 2019. The largest declines for the top 10 ports of entry in terms of truck crossings with loaded containers in 2020 were seen at El Paso Port of Entry (PoE) with a loss of roughly 181,500 (-29.7%) and Buffalo-Niagara Falls PoE with a loss of roughly 89,900 (-12.2%). The largest declines for the top ports of entry in terms of passenger and pedestrian crossings were seen at San Ysidro PoE and El Paso PoE, with losses of approximately 13,600,000 (-37.1%) and 12,100,000 (-45.3%), respectively. Overall, El Paso PoE was hit the hardest across the board in 2020, while passenger and pedestrian crossings across all top ports struggled severely.
•The top 10 U.S. land ports of entry in 2020 in terms of truck crossings with loaded containers remained the same as in 2019. The top 5 ports remained the same order, with Laredo seeing an increased share of the total from 18.7% in 2019 to 19.9% in 2020; however, El Paso and Hidalgo flipped from 2019, with Hidalgo now ranking 6th and El Paso 7th in 2020. Blaine fell from 7th in 2019 to 10th in 2020, while Nogales jumped to 8th from 9th and Champlain-Rouses Point from 10th to 9th.
•All ports saw decreases in comparison to 2019, with the largest absolute declines seen at El Paso PoE with a loss of roughly 181,500 (-29.7%), Buffalo-Niagara Falls PoE with a loss of roughly 89,900 (-12.2%), and Laredo PoE with a loss of roughly 82,500 (-4.8%). Overall, the share the top 10 ports accounted for increased from 75.5% in 2019 to 76.1% in 2020.
•In 2020, the top 10 U.S. ports of entry in terms of total passenger and pedestrian crossings differed from 2019. Buffalo-Niagara Falls PoE and Blaine PoE fell out of the top 10 and were replaced by San Luis PoE and Eagle Pass PoE. This change brings all of the top 10 U.S. ports in passenger and pedestrian crossings to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2020. San Ysidro PoE and El Paso PoE remained 1st and 2nd while their shares increased from 15.2% and 11% in 2019 to 19.8% 12.5% in 2020, respectively. Laredo fell from 3rd to 5th while Otay Mesa and Calexico jumped 3rd and 4th, respectively. Hidalgo jumped from 8th to 7th, Nogales remained 9th, and San Luis and Eagle Pass came in at 8th and 10th, respectively.
•Nevertheless, all of them saw sharp drops in 2020 compared to 2019. San Ysidro PoE, El Paso PoE, Laredo PoE, and Brownsville PoE led the way with decreases of approximately 13,600,000 (-37.1%), 12,100,000 (-45.3%), 7,500,000 (-49.5%), and 6,400,000 (-50.5%), respectively. In spite of the sharp decreases, however, the top 10 ports accounted for 76.4% of the total share in 2020, an uptick from the 65.9% the top 10 ports from 2019 accounted for.
•TAKEAWAY: El Paso PoE was hit more severely than other top ports of entry across the board in 2020, with the largest decline of top ports in loaded truck container crossings and the second largest decline in passenger and pedestrian crossings. While truck crossings were down in 2020, passenger and pedestrian crossings fell more significantly when compared to 2019 amidst the travel restrictions that persisted at the border for the majority of the year. After changes across the U.S. border ports of entry rankings, in 2020 the top 10 U.S. ports in passenger and pedestrian crossings are all located on the U.S.-Mexico border.
* Since 2014, the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at The University of Texas at El Paso has provided economic analysis of the Paso del Norte Region that includes the binational communities of El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The mission of the Hunt Institute is to produce high-quality market analysis tools that can strengthen regional and binational cross-border economic and social development. Twitter: @HuntPasoDeNorte