Those who follow this agency know I’ve spent some time visiting with Texans all over the state in what I’ve called our Good for Texas tours. On each tour, I meet with local business leaders, elected officials and community members to discuss various aspects of the Texas economy and how they affect us.
I just completed what we’ve called our “ports tour,” highlighting a vital part of the state’s economic mix — our 29 ports of entry, the places that knit our economy together with those of nations around the world. These ports include seaports, border crossings and major logistical facilities for air, rail and trucks, all of them handling the imports and exports that keep our economy strong.
Texas is a crossroads for world trade, with an international border, a long seacoast and a prime mid-continental location. As of 2015, we’d been the number-one exporting state for 14 years, and I have no doubt we’ll keep that title for 2016. The vitality of Texas’ international trade can be seen everywhere, from the Houston Ship Channel, the nation’s busiest waterway, to the Laredo port of entry, whose five international bridges accommodate more than 2 million trucks and 3,600 trains each year.
We reap enormous advantages from world trade every day, and for the ports tour my agency has quantified those benefits.
We’ve found that Texas ports of entry accounted for nearly $650 billion in international trade in 2015. In all, that trade supports nearly 1.6 million Texas jobs and adds more than $224 billion to our gross state product. It’s a vital part of the economy, and keeps it an essential destination for business and industry.
Our tour covered six of our most important ports of entry. Check out our website to see economic highlights on these ports, and check out our video to see a wrap-up of the tour.