economy

Port of Entry: BeaumontEconomic Impact, 2015

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Texas' location, geography and diverse economy offer unique trade opportunities with other states and countries. Texas has a number of ports of entry, including seaports, inland ports and border crossings, which facilitate the movement of imports and exports. Texas ports of entry contribute to the state and local economies, each in a very distinctive way.

The State of Texas accounted for nearly $650 billion in international trade in 2015. Of Texas' total international trade, $204 billion or 32.3 percent traveled through the state's seaports, with the Port of Beaumont accounting for 4.0 percent of the seaport trade, or about $8.2 billion.1 The Comptroller acknowledges there may be other economic activities directly and indirectly associated with the use of this facility that may not be reflected here.3

Based on the Comptroller's analysis, the net benefit of trade associated with the Beaumont port of entry contributes an estimated 31,000 net jobs to Texas and a minimum of $4.4 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) to the Texas economy.1

The Port of Beaumont

The Port of Beaumont is one of 10 seaports along Texas' 367 mile-long coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Each seaport facilitates the movement of goods between Texas and nations throughout the world. Each Texas seaport is unique, offering different capabilities and a variety of shipping options, including bulk, roll-on/roll-off, container and liquid/gas shipping

The Port of Beaumont was originally built in 1908, and its strategic location and capabilities offered shippers an opportunity for deep-water and shallow-draft connectivity. When combined with Beaumont's three class-1 railroads, this connectivity makes this port ideal for the military; in fact, the Port is the busiest U.S. military port in the world. The Port of Beaumont is home to the U.S. Army's 842nd Transportation Battalion, overseeing military cargo shipments through the Gulf of Mexico and Western U.S., including the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.4

The Port of Beaumont includes:

  • a harbor channel 400 feet wide and 40 feet deep;
  • 100 foot-wide aprons (space available for maneuvering vessels into place);
  • 550,000 square feet of covered storage and 90 acres of open storage;
  • A newly constructed 250-acre crude-by-rail terminal equipped to service ships and barges;
  • 6,800 linear feet of harbor front with nine deep water berths; and
  • access to three class-1 railroads (BNSF, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern).

The Port of Beaumont is covered by General Purpose Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) #115, and has been designated as a military strategic port within the National Port Readiness Network by the U.S. Maritime Administration.5

Economic Data

In total, shipping activity at the Port of Beaumont accounted for $8.2 billion in trade in 2015, an increase of 42.4 percent from 2003 ($5.8 billion).6 In addition, the Port of Beaumont ranks fourth nationally in tonnage.7 It handles more than 87 million tons of cargo annually, including 53 million tons of foreign cargo.8

Port of Beaumont (Port), All Trade (All Commodities), 2003-2015* * Trade value decrease is directly related to the lower price of oil, as a significant portion of the trade is in petroleum products.Source: Texas Centers for Border Economic and Enterprise Development

The Port of Beaumont is taking steps to expand its capacity, with public and private investment totaling nearly $7 billion since 2013. A recently approved $95 million capital expenditure program will build new marine and rail facilities, expand dock infrastructure and improve overall capacity. 9 As part of a multi-stage development, a recently completed $300 million rail facility is equipped with 650 feet of heavy-duty wharf space and capacity for two 120-car unit trains to simultaneously transfer crude from rail to barges.10 When fully developed, this terminal will have the capacity to unload more than 210,000 barrels of crude oil per day by rail along with 1.8 million barrels of storage capacity.11 Other projects under construction include a $4 billion project by ExxonMobil and a $1.2 billion project by Natgasoline.

  • Top origination/destination for goods: Venezuela, Mexico
  • Top Imports through Beaumont: Oil, Machinery, Chemicals
  • Top Exports through Beaumont: Petroleum Products, Chemicals, Grains
Port of Beaumont Trade Value, 2013-2015*
  Overall Trade ($ billions) Trade with Venezuela/Mexico($ billions)
Year Total Trade Exports (only) Imports (only) Total Trade Total Trade % Exports (only) Imports (only)
2015 $8.23 $5.97 $2.27 $3.25 39.53% $1.73 $1.53
2014 $12.57 $6.55 $6.02 $6.76 53.80% $2.83 $3.94
2013 $13.86 $6.38 $7.48 $8.00 57.75% $2.73 $5.28

* Trade value decrease is directly related to the lower price of oil, as a significant portion of the trade is in petroleum products.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Port related activities in the Beaumont area employ about 6,400 including 40 with the Port of Beaumont Authority and another 2,500 directly associated with the Port of Beaumont terminal. The remaining employees are concentrated in surface transportation (more than 2,100) and as stevedores (more than 725). The Port of Beaumont supports a myriad of other occupations including freight forwarders, tug and barge operators, government employees and marine agents.12

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Sabine-Neches Waterway, which includes the Port of Beaumont, recently surpassed the Port of New York and New Jersey in terms of tonnage shipped, ranking third in the nation with more than 129 million tons annually. The Sabine-Neches Waterway links the ports of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange, a region collectively known as the "Golden Triangle." In 2014, Congress approved $1.2 billion to deepen this waterway to modernize and expand its capacity, a move that will aid all ports in the region.13

Federal Customs District Growth The Port of Beaumont is part of the larger Port Arthur Customs District, which includes the area stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Sabine Pass and laterally from Orange to Beaumont. With $26.5 billion in trade, the Port Arthur District ranked fifth in the U.S. for total waterborne volume in 2015, at 71 million metric tons.14 It should be noted that the recent decline in the price of oil has had a disproportionate effect on the value of trade in this district due to the high percentage of oil-related cargo being handled.

Port Arthur Customs District: Total Trade, 2003-2015. Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Texas has 29 official ports of entry that serve as critical gateways to global trade. Each port, whether accessible via air, land or sea, serves a variety of domestic and international economic activity across multiple industries. The high quality of Texas' ports has a significant impact internationally as well as across the state from its largest cities to the most rural counties. Texas ports play an important role in the state's transportation network, as each directly contributes to and thus affects the entire transportation system. Texas ports contribute to the overall strength and diversity of the Texas economy, which ranks 10th in GDP when compared to other nations.15