Douglas Commercial Port of Entry
A port of entry is a facility that provides controlled entry into, or departure from, the United States for people or materials. Port of entries house the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other federal inspection agencies responsible for enforcing federal laws. The State of Arizona has ports of entry into the United States in six locations along its border with Mexico. The Douglas port of entry is the second-largest commercial port in Arizona. It is also the sole port of entry between the cities of Douglas and Agua Prieta. Unlike the San Luis and Nogales ports of entry, where commercial and non-commercial traffic is separated, both modes of traffic most currently compete at the Douglas port.
Mexico currently possesses the 15th largest economy in the world. PWC and Goldman Sachs research estimate that the Mexican economy will become the world's fifth or sixth-largest economy by 2050. Moreover, Mexico is Arizona's top trading partner. Our shared border is the gateway for $26 billion worth of imports and exports annually. However, the continual flow of oversized and overweight trucks that support major mining and smelter developments in Cananea, Nacozari de Garcia, and Moctezuma, Sonora, often disrupts cross-border traffic within Douglas and can pose an environmental threat due to the nature of the hazardous materials being transported.
A Two- Port Solution
Within the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act of 2021, $216 million of federal funding was dedicated to the development of a new Douglas Commercial Port of Entry, and $184 million was dedicated towards the rehabilitation at the current Douglas Port of Entry. Rerouting commercial traffic out of the downtown area to a facility roughly 5 miles west will allow the existing port to be re-vamped into a state-of-the art facility, strictly dedicated to pedestrian, vehicular, and bus traffic.
A consortium of partners - including Cochise County, the City of Douglas, Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation, Douglas International Port Authority, Douglas Industrial Development Authority, and many others, have been working to improve the border-crossing experience for people and goods, largely focused on making this two-port solution a reality.
A second commercial port of entry in the Douglas area will improve safety, security, and overall operations at the border. It will simultaneously reduce:
- overcrowding and commercial truck traffic in downtown Douglas;
- queueing times for everyone, heading north or south; and
- conflicts between commercial trucks and non-commercial vehicles, which will increase pedestrian safety.
The addition of a new port of entry, and the renovation of the existing port in Douglas, is estimated to bring an additional an $10.8 - $20 million per year in revenue to the region. Initially, there will be the need for approximately 110 new employees, which could double within the decade. The improvements are anticipated to increase traffic at the local Bisbee-Douglas International Airport, boost the student population at the nearby Cochise College campus, and increase demand for residential housing in the immediate area.
These are just some of the economic impacts that, if properly capitalized on, could deliver meaningful economic benefits to Cochise County and the City of Douglas.
Land Use Planning
In Cochise County, the Comprehensive Plan serves as a blueprint for the development of land in the County. In January 2022, the County initiated a land-use map amendment along the James Ranch Road corridor, encompassing and surrounding the site identified as the future commercial port. The County has requested the land use in the area be amended from "D" Rural to "B" Developing.
A land-use map change can reduce some regulatory barriers, financial risk, as well as time associated with a map amendment that could otherwise discourage private investment and redevelopment. To support the proposed new port, private development of industrial and commercial businesses in the area is needed. However, it can only occur if the land use growth area and designation are amended to a category/designation that permits their construction. These changes were approved by the Board of Supervisors on April 5, 2022.
Utility and Infrastructure Planning
The proposed location for the commercial port is on undeveloped land without roadway or utility infrastructure in place to support the intended purpose. There is no water supply, wastewater treatment or reuse, road right-of-way or road connecting to SR-80, power supply, internet/communication service, or natural gas supply. Studies are currently underway to make all the improvements necessary to serve the future port and the surrounding area.
|Infrastructure Feasibility Study (PDF)||$320K||Complete||Cochise County|
|County Land Use Map Amendment (Phase 1 Boundary) (PDF)||$0||Complete||Cochise County|
|Infrastructure 30% Design (Scope) (PDF)||$353K||In Progress - Fall 2022||Cochise County|
|James Ranch Road Corridor Study||$800K||In Progress - Dec. 2023||ADOT|
|Environmental Assessment/Impact Statement||TBD||April 2022- Late 2024||GSA|
|Infrastructure 100% Design||TBD||2023||NADBank|
|Commercial Port Design/Construction||$216 Million||2025/2026||GSA|
|Existing Port Remodel||$184 Million||2027/2028||GSA|