Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Port of Entry: Port San AntonioImpact to the Texas Economy, 2018

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

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:

  • an integrated transportation infrastructure (air, rail and ground)
  • a 1,900-acre site including a 350-acre rail-served site (East Kelly Railport)
  • quick access to three interstate highways (IH-10, IH-35, IH-37)
  • an 11,500-foot runway capable of handling the largest aircraft (a joint-use agreement between the U.S. Air Force and the port gives tenants and civilian aircraft access to Kelly Field’s runway)
  • a general-purpose Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ #80-10) designation covering the entire port
  • onsite federal inspection services

Exhibit 1

Port San Antonio Access and Infrastructure
Transport ModeKey FeatureCapabilities
Air The region’s longest runway at 11,500 feet, with 24/7 access
  • Ability to handle the largest aircraft
  • Operated by the U.S. Air Force’s JBSA- Lackland
  • Joint use agreement in effect
Rail 350 acres
  • Rail logistics operated by WATCO Companies
  • Direct access to BNSF and Union Pacific
Ground Access to U.S. Hwy 90, IH-10, IH-35 and IH-37
  • Capable of connecting to Mexico, Canada and U.S. coasts

Economic Data

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.

Exhibit 2

Overall Port San Antonio Workforce, 2018
Job Sector Number of employees
Total 13,364
Department of Defense 6,100
Aerospace 3,215
Business Services 1,300
Logistics 1,050
Cybersecurity (private sector) 775
Manufacturing/Applied Technology 530
Other 180
Education 110
Port Authority 104

Jobs Added Since 2017
Job Sector Number of employees
Aerospace 1,550
Cybersecurity 600
Manufacturing/Applied Technology 200
Logistics 260
Education 60
Other 140

Source: Port San Antonio

Exhibit 3

Port San Antonio Job Sectors, 2018
Job SectorNumber of EmployeesPercent of Total
Department of Defense - Other 5,100 38%
Aerospace 3,215 24%
Business Services 1,300 10%
Logistics 1,050 8%
Department of Defense - Cybersecurity 1,000 7%
Cybersecurity (private sector) 775 6%
Manufacturing/Applied Technology 530 4%
Other 180 1%
Education 110 1%
Port Authority 104 1%

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).

Exhibit 4

Estimated Contributions of Port San Antonio to the Texas Economy, 2018
Total employment6 32,000
Output7 $5,624,922,000
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

Port San Antonio Tenant Highlight:

The Boeing Company’s Global Services & Support (GS&S) - San Antonio

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:

  • employs roughly 10 percent of the Port San Antonio workforce, of which more than 40 percent are military veterans;
  • includes 1.6 million square feet of building and hangar space;
  • offers 3.5 million square feet of aircraft ramps, run-up areas and parking pads;
  • includes Boeing’s building 375, the world’s largest free-standing, high-bay aircraft hangar, which can accommodate up to 15 wide-body aircraft at a time; and in all
  • has capacity for up to 22 wide-body hangar positions, up to 33 narrow-body hangar positions and 33 ramp positions, and saw 133 flight takeoffs in 2018.

Source: The Boeing Company

Federal Customs District Growth

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

Exhibit 5

Dallas-Fort Worth Customs District, Total Trade, 2003 to 2018
Year Imports Exports
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

Links are correct at the time of publication. The Comptroller's office is not responsible for external websites.

  1. Texas Governor’s Office, Economic Development and Tourism, 2015 Texas: The Logistical Heart of North America (PDF), p. 11.
  2. Email communication from Paco Felici, Chief of Staff, Chief Communications Officer - Port San Antonio, July 16, 2019; and The Port was formed under Texas Government Code 379b.
  3. Port San Antonio, Air Force Agencies at Port San Antonio, July 30, 2019.
  4. Email communication from Paco Felici, Chief of Staff, Chief Communications Officer - Port San Antonio, July 16, 2019.
  5. Estimated inputs and assumptions include the following: (1) all data estimated for 2018; (2) only full-time employees at the port including those affiliated with JBSA; (3) estimated annual capital improvement spending; (4) all economic impact is in Texas.
  6. “Total employment” refers to both direct and indirect employment.
  7. “Output” refers to the total value of all goods and services (both final and intermediate) produced in Texas.
  8. “Gross domestic product” refers to the total value of all final goods and services produced in Texas.
  9. “Disposable personal income” refers to post-income-tax income.
  10. Email communication from Paco Felici, Chief of Staff, Chief Communications Officer - Port San Antonio, July 16, 2019.
  11. Email communication from Paco Felici, Chief of Staff, Chief Communications Officer - Port San Antonio, July 16, 2019.
  12. U.S. Census Bureau: Economic Indicators Division, USA Trade Online. Guide to Foreign Trade Statistics
  13. The World Bank, “GDP Ranking,” ; and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, “World Bank National Accounts Data (2018)”.