Texas’ location, geography and growing economy offer a multitude of trade opportunities with other states and countries. Texas has 29 official ports of entry that serve as critical gateways to global trade, including seaports, inland ports and border crossings. Each Texas port of entry contributes to state and local economies in a unique way.
Port San Antonio, one of Texas’ two intermodal logistics facilities (along with Fort Worth’s AllianceTexas), offers air, ground and rail connections, allowing businesses to take advantage of trade via all three transportation modes.1 In addition to acting as a trade gateway, Port San Antonio also functions as a technology campus. Logistics are just a part of the port’s growing business activities, which include major aerospace, cybersecurity and applied technology employers as well as the U.S. Department of Defense.
Port San Antonio, located on the southwestern side of the city of San Antonio, was created in 1995 as a result of the federal government’s decision to close Kelly Air Force Base. The city created the port as a separate special authority to redevelop the former base, which included 15 million square feet of former Air Force facilities.2 Today, Port San Antonio is part of a larger complex composed of Lackland Air Force Base (south), Kelly Field (center) and Port San Antonio (north). Lackland AFB and Kelly Field are part of Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), which also is a large tenant at Port San Antonio (Exhibit 1).
Port San Antonio includes:
|Transport Mode||Key Feature||Capabilities|
|Air||The region’s longest runway at 11,500 feet, with 24/7 access||
|Ground||Access to U.S. Hwy 90, IH-10, IH-35 and IH-37||
Port San Antonio has more than 100 direct employees managing the facility and houses more than 80 public- and private-sector tenants that employ about 13,400 (Exhibit 2). This figure includes about 6,100 military personnel, mostly airmen from the U.S. Air Force, who work for one of the many various headquarters located within the port campus. Among these is Air Forces Cyber, a cybersecurity organization within the Air Force that employs more than 1,000 uniformed and civilian personnel. In addition, six Air Force headquarters have relocated from Washington D.C. to the port (Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 3)3.
|Job Sector||Number of employees|
|Department of Defense||6,100|
|Cybersecurity (private sector)||775|
|Job Sector||Number of employees|
Source: Port San Antonio
|Job Sector||Number of Employees||Percent of Total|
|Department of Defense - Other||5,100||38%|
|Department of Defense - Cybersecurity||1,000||7%|
|Cybersecurity (private sector)||775||6%|
Aerospace operations, including aircraft maintenance, engineering and research and development, have doubled in size since 2016, and many are tied to Department of Defense contracts. A majority of the job growth since 2017 has been in the aerospace and cybersecurity sectors, with more than 1,500 new jobs in aerospace alone.4 Since its inception, public and private-sector partners have invested more than $800 million in redevelopment. The port has grown significantly in recent years. In 2018, projects totaled $49 million in investment. In 2019 through August, these investments totaled $55 million..
Comptroller staff applied data obtained from various sources as inputs and used the REMI (Regional Economic Models Inc.) model for the state of Texas to generate estimates of Port San Antonio’s contributions to state-level employment, gross domestic product (GDP), output and disposable personal income.5 The Comptroller estimates that the operation at Port San Antonio contributed $5.6 billion to the Texas economy and supported about 32,000 jobs in 2018 (Exhibit 4).
|Gross domestic product8||$3,469,995,000|
|Disposable personal income9||$1,958,037,000|
Source: REMI Model for Texas
In 2018, Port San Antonio received 5,061 rail cars and 1,854 aircraft, 579 of which were cargo aircraft. The port’s expansion continues as a small but growing number of firms use its industrial campus to develop prototypes, perform research and integrate innovations that combine robotics, information security, artificial intelligence and machine learning.10 Aerospace operations have added more than 1,500 jobs, and several hundred more were added in the cybersecurity sector since 2016.11
Boeing operates one of the world’s largest military aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities at Port San Antonio. Since its opening in 1998, Boeing has invested more than $240 million in this facility, which:
Source: The Boeing Company
Port San Antonio is part of the larger Dallas-Fort Worth Customs District, which stretches from Tulsa to San Antonio and from Lubbock to Dallas. With $58.5 billion in trade, this district was the nation’s 22nd largest, by value, in 2018 (Exhibit 5).12
|2003||$12.8 billion||$13.6 billion|
|2004||$17.2 billion||$16.4 billion|
|2005||$20.4 billion||$17.8 billion|
|2006||$25.7 billion||$20.7 billion|
|2007||$25.1 billion||$20.7 billion|
|2008||$25.3 billion||$19.8 billion|
|2009||$21.8 billion||$17.4 billion|
|2010||$25.9 billion||$18.1 billion|
|2011||$31.7 billion||$18.4 billion|
|2012||$33.6 billion||$19.2 billion|
|2013||$37.3 billion||$18.8 billion|
|2014||$40.4 billion||$20.6 billion|
|2015||$36.6 billion||$21.9 billion|
|2016||$33.0 billion||$22.5 billion|
|2017||$35.9 billion||$24.3 billion|
|2018||$35.3 billion||$24.5 billion|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Each of Texas’ 29 official ports of entry serve as critical gateways to global trade. Whether accessible via air, land or sea, the ports serve 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 would rank 10th globally in GDP if it were a nation.13
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