The departure of Chiquita from the Port of Gulfport has transportation workers fearing for their jobs. Yet loyal tenants and future tenants paint a bright horizon for the Port of Gulfport.
The Port of Gulfport is focusing on its future by investing a total of 30 million dollars into Dole’s presence at the port.
The announcement of the departure of Chiquita has longshoreman and truckers concerned for their jobs. Chiquita is responsible for union jobs and independent workers that transfer their bananas across the country.
Gulfport Councilman and Longshoreman, Truck Casey says, “All my colleagues that work at Chiquita’s Terminal at the Port of Gulfport are unhappy, being that Chiquita is leaving and the jobs that are coming in are not equivalent to the jobs that we’re losing.”
McDermott International will be the newest tenant at the port. The company has promised 100 production jobs.
Port of Gulfport Director, Jonathan Daniels says those jobs are only the beginning, McDermott will need many more local hands on deck to make the operation run. Daniels explains, “There will be crew changes. There will be flights in, flights out. There will be a need to supply those vessels for seven to ten days. You can look at them as small cruise vessels for those men and women that are on there for a long period of time. So when they go out there, they’re going to need all the provisions, so the jobs may be a little different.”
Dole’s 91 year old C.E.O. David Murdock is not upset to see Chiquita go. Murdock says, “I want to tell each and every one of you, I don’t want you eating Chiquita bananas.”
With Chiquita leaving, the Port of Gulfport's decision to invest 30 million dollars will go toward expanding Dole’s territory.
Daniels said he offered the same to Chiquita, but they didn’t bite, “It would have been the same investment we would have done for Chiquita, and actually had that our on the table. They chose to take the incentive package and move to the Port of New Orleans.”
But according to Daniels, Dole and the rest of the port’s tenants are looking toward a long future in Gulfport.