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 of Houston

Ports of entry within the state of Texas accounted for nearly $740 billion in international trade in 2018. Texas has 29 official ports of entry that serve as critical gateways to global trade. Each port, whether an airport, land port or seaport, serves many domestic and international economic activities across multiple industries. Each Texas port plays a distinctive role in the state’s transportation network and contributes to the state and local economies.

Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The Port of Houston’s contributions to the Texas economy include:

Total trade (2018) $159.8 Billion

Direct and indirect employment 712,600

gross domestic product $107.6 Billion

Sources: REMI, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

About the Port of Houston

Map of Texas that shows location of Houston over background of a close-up map of the port.

In 2018, the Port of Houston handled more than 182 billion tons of cargo.

The Port of Houston is one of 10 seaports along Texas’ 367-mile Gulf of Mexico coastline. It is part of the Houston-Galveston Customs District, which includes the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Sugar Land Regional Airport, the Port of Texas City, the Port of Galveston, the Port of Freeport, the Port of Port Lavaca and the Port of Corpus Christi. The Texas Legislature created the Port of Houston Authority in 1927 to oversee and manage the Port of Houston and the Houston Ship Channel, which is the deep-water ship channel connecting the port to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Houston Ship Channel was officially opened in 1914, and today it is one of the busiest U.S. waterways.

Port of Houston: All Trade
2003 to 2018

Port of Houston: All Trade (All Commodities), 2003 to 2018
Year Total Trade through Houston (in billions) Percentage of Total Trade through Seaports
2003 49.9 billion dollars 55.4%
2004 66.1 billion dollars 55.7%
2005 86.2 billion dollars 57.0%
2006 103.0 billion dollars 57.9%
2007 114.9 billion dollars 58.0%
2008 147.8 billion dollars 56.4%
2009 106.2 billion dollars 59.9%
2010 131.0 billion dollars 58.0%
2011 169.1 billion dollars 58.8%
2012 176.6 billion dollars 59.7%
2013 168.5 billion dollars 60.1%
2014 167.2 billion dollars 61.1%
2015 136.6 billion dollars 67.0%
2016 112.7 billion dollars 67.4%
2017 131.8 billion dollars 63.2%
2018 159.8 billion dollars 61.3%

Shipping activity through this port accounted for $159.8 billion in trade in 2018, 8 percent more than in 2003 ($49.9 billion).

This seaport’s trade, as a percentage of the total through all 10 Texas seaports, has fluctuated from as low as 55.4 percent in 2003 to as high as 67.4 percent in 2016.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau: USA Trade Online

Port of Houston: Total Trade with Mexico, China and Brazil, 2014 to 2018

Imports Exports

Port of Houston Trade Value Mexico, China and Brazil (2014 to 2018)
Year Trade ExportsImports
2018 $41.1 $21.1 $20.1
2017 $36.0 $18.5 $17.5
2016 $28.6 $14.7 $13.9
2015 $32.9 $16.5 $16.4
2014 $42.1 $19.4 $22.7

Mexico, China and Brazil together accounted for about 26 percent of the total trade through this port in 2018, which has remained steady since 2014.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau: USA Trade Online

Glenn Hegar

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The Port of Houston is one of 29 official Texas Ports of Entry. See a select list of ports, plus more in-depth regional data.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.