Skip to main content

Study: Houston Ship Channel Contributed More Than $900 Billion to U.S. Economy

Published Jun 05, 2023 by Taylor Tatum

Port of Houston - Ship Channel

Houston Ship Channel - Port of Houston

The Houston Ship Channel, an economic driver and a critical link to transporting goods and commerce with more than 200 countries around the world, generated $906 billion of economic value to the U.S. in 2022, reflecting a 13 percent increase since 2018, according to Port Houston’s latest economic impact study.

The Houston Ship Channel complex encompasses more than 200 public and private facilities while Port Houston owns and operates the eight public facilities along the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel. According to the study conducted by Martin Associates, the Houston Ship Channel generated $439.2 billion in total economic value for the state, representing 18.6 percent of the state’s GDP and a $100 billion increase in economic value since 2018. An additional $10.6 billion in state and local tax revenue was generated by activity at its marine terminals. 

In terms of employment, the Houston Ship Channel supported 3.4 million jobs in the U.S., including 1.5 million jobs in Texas – a 14 percent increase since 2018. Port Houston’s two public terminals resulted in nearly 190,000 new Texas jobs. 

The positive results of the study, which is conducted every four years, will help support continued investment in Port Houston’s future, including plans for facilities and infrastructure. This comes in the wake of the completion of the first section of the Houston Ship Channel expansion project, known as Project 11. This first section, referred to as Segment 1A, encompasses eleven and a half miles extending from Bolivar Road to Redfish and will help increase safety, reduce congestion, and improve vessel transit times by an hour. Project 11 is expected to be completed in 2025 and will move Port Houston closer to its goal of handling unrestricted two-way traffic of larger vessels. 

Port Houston ranks No. 5 in the nation in terms of TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) handled in 2022. With this jump from No. 7, Houston now owns a 7 percent market share of the total U.S. container business. 

According to the Partnership’s Global Houston report, Houston’s role as a major U.S. container port has continued to grow over the years as cargo activity shifts from the ports on the West Coast due to congestion. 

Learn more about Houston’s transportation and logistics infrastructure

Related News

Economic Development

Transportation Projects to Transform Houston Roadways, Accommodate Growth

1/25/24
As the fourth most populous city in the nation, Houston faces the ongoing challenge of meeting the demands of its expanding population and ensuring efficient mobility for residents and businesses.   Metro Houston added nearly 125,000 residents in 2022, according to the Partnership’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. A recent study from Site Selection Group also suggests that the Houston Metro is projected to see a 9.62 percent population growth rate or a total population of over eight million by 2028.  To accommodate for current and future growth, many dynamic transportation projects are underway in the region that will not only address current congestion and infrastructure needs but also lay the groundwork for a more sustainable and interconnected future.   Click to expand I-69 Southwest/610 West Loop Interchange Construction  In efforts to relieve congestion on two of Houston’s busiest highways, the project involves reconstructing the main lanes of Loop 610 along I-69 and transforming one-lane connectors into two-lane ones. After six years of work, the project is nearly finished.  "We have one connector ramp left that has to be that has to be demolished and rebuilt as part of the project," said Danny Perez, Public Information Officer for TxDOT's Houston District in a recent segment of Houston Public Media’s Houston Matters. "We have to do some work on the 610 main lanes. Once we do all of that work then the project will be substantially completed by this summer, and then have it fully completed by fall of 2024."    I-45 Downtown Houston  Construction on a segment of the massive I-45 expansion project is expected to kick off this year in downtown Houston, with drainage work along St. Emmanuel Street. Nearly two decades in the making, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) includes the reconstruction of I-45 from the North Sam Houston Tollway/Beltway 8 to I-10 and reroute I-45 through downtown along I-10 and US 59/I-69.   According to Community Impact, another subproject of the NHHIP that includes the construction of main lanes along I-69 to Hwy. 288 is projected to start in 2025, while segment two of the project, which includes work along I-45 from I-10 to Loop 610 and parts of Loop 610, is not slated to begin until 2028.     Click to expand Houston Ship Channel Bridge  Spanning the Houston Ship Channel, the new cable-stayed bridge aims to widen the Sam Houston Tollway by providing eight lanes for vehicular traffic and shoulder lanes for motorcyclists. While construction saw a brief pause back in 2020, it has resumed with the southbound bridge slated for completion by late 2025 and the northbound bridge by 2028.    METRONext  To help alleviate traffic in the greater Houston region, Metro Houston’s METRONext Moving Forward Plan aims to expand community travel options that will take more cars off the road, including the following:  METRORapid Inner Katy is a project designed to cater to commuters in the Interstate 10 West and U.S. Highway 290 Northwest corridors. The project will create a new METRORapid line running through I-10 in the inner Katy area, including stops at Shepard/Durham and Studemont. Additionally, the project will provide exclusive lanes for Regional Express buses on I-10 West and Hwy. 290 North West, bypassing congestion on I-10.   METRORapid University Corridor Project aims to increase connectivity from the Westchase Park & Ride and to the Tidewell Transit Center, providing access to four educational institutions including Houston Community College, Texas Southern University, University of Houston and University of St. Thomas.  Discover Houston's robust transportation systems. 
Read More
Economic Development

Brazoria County Boasts New Development, Emerging as Premier Destination for Residents and Businesses

1/18/24
Consistently named one the “fastest growing counties in the region,” Brazoria County has recently witnessed significant growth and development, emerging as a thriving residential hub and premier business location.  Groundbreaking new developments, such as the Manvel Town Center and master-planned communities including Meridiana and Sterling Lakes in Iowa Colony, have contributed to the county’s growth, transforming its small-town feel into a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.   According to the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Economic Resilience Profile, “Brazoria County grew by 104% from 1980 to 2015 and is expected to reach 574,000 residents by 2040.”  Several key elements fuel the ongoing growth of the county, rendering it an enticing destination for both businesses and residents, including:  Business Community  Spanning nearly 2,000 square miles, Brazoria County consists of over 23 cities, with Pearland, Lake Jackson, Alvin, Angleton and Freeport being the most populous.  Offering a strategic location on the Gulf Coast near Houston, a skilled labor force with nearly 200,000 workers, robust infrastructure consisting of four major highways, Port Freeport and the Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport, Brazoria County has cemented itself as an attractive destination for businesses.  With a diverse range of industries such as construction, manufacturing, petrochemicals, and healthcare, Brazoria County has nurtured a dynamic business ecosystem, drawing the attention of both major corporations and innovative startups.  In 2022, clean tech startup Syzygy Plasmonics chose Pearland as its headquarters after securing $23 million in Series B funding. Since then, Syzygy has expanded to over 100 employees with ambitious plans for further growth.  “Syzygy is helping put Pearland at the forefront of the clean energy industry,” said Matt Buchanan, president of the Pearland Economic Development Corporation in a statement. “With companies like Syzygy, we are creating a community that is an incubator for innovation.”  Millar Inc., a leading medical device manufacturer, also recently relocated its headquarters to Pearland, opening a 56,000 square-foot R&D manufacturing and warehousing facility in the Lower Kirby District.   Click to expand Other top employers in the county include Dow, with nearly 4,000 employees, Kelsey-Seybold, Olin Corporation, Phillips 66, Marquis Construction Services, UTMB Health and INEOS.   Quality of Life  In addition to its robust business community, Brazoria County is known for its exceptional quality of life, offering a low cost-of-living, a flourishing economy and three higher education institutions, including Alvin Community College, Brazosport College and University of Houston-Clear Lake at Pearland.   According to the Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County, “71.1% of Brazoria County residents 25+ are high school graduates or higher and 32% hold a bachelor's degree or higher.”  Along with its quality education system, the county boasts an array of parks and green spaces, consistently being named one of the “Best Counties in Texas for Outdoor Activities," according to the Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County.   Click to expand With sprawling parks, scenic trails, and access to the Gulf Coast, the county provides a haven for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and water sports. A few of the county’s hidden gems include, Surfside Beach, the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and Froberg’s Farm.  New Development   Thanks to recent business growth, the county is experiencing a transformative wave with a notable influx of master-planned communities and mixed-use developments that are reshaping the residential landscape of the region. A few recent development projects include:  Ashland, an 880-acre master-planned community, is underway in Angleton, making it the city’s first ever planned community of its kind. The new community will offer 2,450 homes, space for an elementary and junior high school and 200 acres of amenity space, including a nature preserve, a recreational center, a resort-style pool and more.  Manvel Town Center, a new 273-acre mixed-use development, aims to transform this small-town's way of life, offering an array of retail options that were previously not available in the area. While the development is still undergoing construction, HEB and Mcdonald’s opened late last year.   Click to expand Sandy Point, a 954-acre master-planned community, is set to breathe life into the small city of Iowa Colony, offering over 2,000 single-family homes, parks and green spaces, a pool, clubhouse and more. The first phase is expected to be completed later this year.   The Landing at Pearland, a gated 55-acre manufactured home community, recently opened, offering an enticing blend of affordability and upscale amenities that are found in master-planned communities. Along with 420 home sites, The Landing provides a plethora of amenities, including a pool, game room, club house, basketball court and dog park.   Learn more about the counties that make up the greater Houston region.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by Greater Houston Partnership (@ghpartnership)
Read More

Related Events

Economic Development

State of Education

The Greater Houston Partnership invites you to the State of Education on May 9 at the Royal Sonesta. The success of our region relies on a thriving public education system providing equitable…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners