economy

Port of Entry: San Antonio - Port San AntonioEconomic 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 was responsible for nearly $650 billion in international trade in 2015. Of Texas' total international trade, $71.1 billion or 11.3 percent attributed to cargo arriving and/or departing by air through the state's air/multimodal ports.1

Port San Antonio

Port San Antonio, is one of Texas' two intermodal logistics facilities connecting air, road and rail (Fort Worth's AllianceTexas being the other), which allow businesses to take advantage of and provide services for trade arriving via all three modes of transportation.1 Each facility has immediate access to an airport with a long runway, rail facilities and major highways.

Port San Antonio 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 1,900 acres and 15 million square feet of former Air Force facilities.1 Today, Port San Antonio is part of a larger complex comprising 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 is also is a large tenant at Port San Antonio.

Port San Antonio includes:

  • 1,900 acres
  • quick access to three interstate highways (IH10, IH35, IH37)
  • a 350-acre rail-served site (East Kelly Railport)
  • an 11,500-ft 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
  • an integrated infrastructure system (air, rail and ground)
Access and infrastructure
Air 11,500-ft runway
  • Ability to handle the largest aircraft
  • Operated by the U.S. Air Force's JBSA- Lackland
  • Joint use agreement in effect
Rail 350 acres
More than eight miles of track on site
  • Rail logistics managed by WATCO Companies
  • Direct access to BNSF and Union Pacific
Ground Tenants conducting 24/7 operations Access to US Hwy 90, IH10, IH35 and IH37

Economic Data

Port San Antonio has about 100 direct employees and houses more than 70 public and private-sector tenants that employ approximately 12,000 people. This figure includes about 6,000 affiliated with the Air Force, which in recent years has located headquarters operations within the port campus.

Since its inception, the port, its customers and private-sector partners have invested more than $500 million in redevelopment. Another $35 million is spent on capital improvements and general construction each year.

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, output and disposable personal income. 4 The Comptroller estimates that the operation at Port San Antonio contributed $5.2 billion to the Texas economy and supported about 27,000 jobs in 2015.

Estimated Contributions of Port San Antonio to the Texas Economy, 2015
Total employment 5 27,000
Output 6 $5,182,990,000
Gross domestic product 7 $2,988,882,000
Disposable personal income 8 $1,816,659,000

Source: REMI Model for Texas

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts recognizes that facilities such as Port San Antonio affect the state economy in positive ways that may be difficult to measure. Each facility's distinctive characteristics contribute to the Texas economy, but, while instrumental to the state's economic growth, cannot always be quantified. Although the estimated contributions presented above provide a strong indicator of the economic importance of Port San Antonio to Texas, the Comptroller acknowledges there is potential for additional positive economic impact to the state.

Port San Antonio Operations:
Air Traffic Rail Traffic
FY Total aircraft received Cargo only Non-Cargo Total Rail Cars Cars with other Commodities Cars with Frac sand Cars for Maintenance
2016* 925 71 856 2,761 1,322 734 705
2015 1,135 56 1,079 9,697 1,167 7,515 1,015

*"Aircraft Received" indicates those not stationed at adjacent Lackland AFB; "non-cargo" includes general aviation as well as some military aircraft arriving for other purposes including repair at Port San Antonio tenants.
Source: Port San Antonio

Port San Antonio's expansion continues as facilities for aerospace operations are currently near full occupancy. To prepare for the future, the port has obtained $5 million in funding to prepare nearly 200 acres for development specifically intended for aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry tenants – offering direct access to Kelly Field and truck transport.9

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 (MRO) facilities. Since opening in 1998, Boeing has invested more than $200 million in this facility, which:

  • employs roughly 10 percent of the Port San Antonio workforce, 40 percent of them 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,
  • 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
  • has capacity for up to 22 wide-body hangar positions, up to 33 narrow-body hangar positions and 33 ramp positions; responsible for 175 flight takeoffs in 2015.

Source: The Boeing Company

Federal Customs District Growth

Port San Antonio is part of the larger The Dallas-Fort Worth Customs District, which includes the area stretching from Tulsa, OK to San Antonio, with the width of Lubbock to Dallas, capturing all trade activity in-between. While being a significantly large area, the DFW region represents 93 percent of the total value of goods traded in the entire trade district. With $58.5 billion in trade, the district was the nation's 16th largest, by value, in 2015.10

Dallas-Fort Worth Customs District Total Trade. 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.11


  • 1 To access the trade data for each port area, the U.S. Census Bureau's USA Trade Online data tool was used. A log-in is needed (https://usatrade.census.gov/). Harmonized System (HS) Port-level Data was used for both export and import data which were added together manually to determine total trade for each port.
  • 2 Texas Governor's Office, Economic Development and Tourism, 2015 Texas: The Logistical Heart of North America, p. 11, https://texaswideopenforbusiness.com/sites/default/files/12/03/15/logistics_report.pdf.
  • 3 Email communication from Paco Felici, Vice President of Communications – Port San Antonio, November 8, 2016; and The Port was formed under Texas Government Code 379b.
  • 4 Estimate inputs and assumptions include the following: (1) all data estimated for 2015; (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.
  • 5 "Total employment" refers to both direct and indirect employment.
  • 6 "Output" refers to the total value of all goods and services (both final and intermediate) produced in Texas.
  • 7 "Gross domestic product" refers to the total value of all final goods and services produced in Texas.
  • 8 "Disposable personal income" refers to post-income-tax income.
  • 9 Interview with Paco Felici, Vice President of Communications – Port San Antonio, October 6, 2016.
  • 10 Worldcity, Inc, https://www.ustradenumbers.com/dashboard/customs-districts/.
  • 11 The World Bank, "GDP Ranking," http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/GDP-ranking-table; and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, "Gross Domestic Product Second Quarter of 2016 (Second Estimate)," https://blog.bea.gov/2016/08/26/gross-domestic-product-second-quarter-of-2016-second-estimate/.