McDermott International and more than 100 jobs will be anchored at the Port of Gulfport. The Port of Gulfport announced McDermott International as their newest tenant Monday. The port's newest tenant was announced at a press conference Monday at the port, just days after announcing long time tenant, Chiquita, would be moving to the Port of New Orleans and taking about 100 longshoremen jobs with them.
As Chiquita gets ready to sail out of Gulfport, the port is moving full speed ahead to fill vacant slots in its expansion project. Energy construction and installation firm, McDermott International, was welcomed with open arms by officials who hope the new tenant will bring the much needed economic boost and jobs to the port. Governor Phil Bryant says, "You have 100 jobs that will be doing advanced manufacturing and then that product will be loaded onto ships for distribution around the world.” McDermott will host a pipeline finishing operation on the east pier of the newly expanded port. Port leaders say there are good things on the horizon because of the diversity McDermott will bring. Senator Roger Wicker says, "This port can take advantage of the newly expanded Panama Canal. We think with the water resources bill and with the amendment that Senator Cochran has added to allow us more flexibility to deepen our own port, that the sky is really the limit here."
McDermott says there will be many jobs created for international longshoremen when they come to the Port of Gulfport." John Rester, the Port Commission President, says, "McDermott will directly employ some 100 workers and utilize labor force from the I.L.A. 1303 to load and unload the pipe." McDermott has promised to create 100 full time jobs and plans to add longshoremen jobs to that number. Those now employed by Chiquita worry about what will happen after Chiquita's departure. Darius Johnson, the I.L.A. Union President, says, "Chiquita will potentially leave in 2014, and if this new tenant comes on in 2016, that leaves a year gap. So we're definitely hopeful that they'll announce another tenant between that time."
The Port Commission says a contract with another new tenant is in the works. To get ready with all the necessary equipment and facilities it needs, McDermott will be conducting a $25 million construction project for its facility. McDermott hopes to start construction late next year.