After the announcement Wednesday of the loss of Chiquita Banana at the Port of Gulfport, the restoration project must move forward. The port will soon accept bids on the $50-70 million west pier infrastructure project and other projects. The Mississippi State Port Authority in Gulfport held a business outreach workshop Thursday to explain what will be happening with port contracts in the next few months.
Part of the restoration project funding requires the port to hire Section 3 employees and businesses. The workshop explained how Section 3 businesses can score port contracts. Section 3 businesses must make up 30% of all employment in the port restoration project, but the port has already awarded more than 30% of all projects to Section 3 businesses thus far. One recent contract was awarded to a Section 3 business to do all the landscaping at the port. Business owner, Fontello Brown, says he has completed many Section 3 contracts and is looking forward to expanding his businesses with this contract as well.
Brown says, “We have contracts ongoing as we speak down in Georgia and some in Louisiana, and we have four contracts that we're actually working on here on the Coast with the Corp of Engineers. So we will be hiring other people here in the near future.” The port encourages all construction companies who are interested in the restoration project bids to think about becoming a Section 3 business. Thirty percent or more of your employees must be Section 3 residents or the company must be owned by a Section 3 resident.