The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implications of COVID-19 on container import flows via the US port distribution system. We employ statistics collected for more than 21 US ports and for more than 550,000 container shipments by Walmart and Nike to identify trends and potential shifts in the US port distribution system. Results unveil different changes in distribution channels during the pandemic era, between aggregated port level and industry level. These differences are specific to firms and could be explained by the origin of flows, carrier selection to transport cargos and US port/inland distribution systems. Our study contributes to a better understanding of the different role played by ports for industries (retailers, footwear and apparel) and shows that the ability to adapt supply chains to a major disruption remains subject to the initial choices on the location of production, on carrier choices and on port/inland distribution networks.