For a long time, the Port of Los Angeles was the largest port in the country: it received all sorts of consumer and industrial cargo from countries including (but not limited to) China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It’s not the biggest anymore, though.
As of March 2019, Laredo takes the crown as America’s trade hub. In contrast with LA, which harbors ships from a litany of Asian countries, Laredo deals primarily with imports from and exports to Mexico.
The reason Laredo has pulled ahead is simple: trade with those south of the American border is growing, while trade wars and tariffs stymie the economic partnerships that were previously so lucrative with eastern nations. Mexico has even eclipsed Canada as the number one trading partner of the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products come into Laredo from their southern neighbors every year. However, the same factor that crippled US-China trade—tariffs—might soon have a similar affect on Laredo’s relationship with Mexico, as the president is considering measures like those for political reasons.
It remains to be seen how long Laredo can keep the figurative crown as king of American importing and exporting, but at the very least the title is a testament to how crucial Laredo is to the continued and effective economic partnership between American and Mexico.