Chiquita Continues to Use Port of Gulfport Due to Congestion in NOLA

Chiquita containers are still moving in and out of the Port of Gulfport even though all containers were supposed to be cleared out for good by the end of 2014.

When Chiquita pulled out of the port, 60 jobs for longshoremen were lost, and even though the former tenant is still moving containers in and out of the port, none of those jobs have re-surfaced. Glenn Cobb, Port Campaign Coalition member, says, "We’re not really having any effect on us because the jobs are not there, it just means there are a couple of people who are making a few more hours.”

Mississippi State Port Authority Director and C.E.O., Jonathan Daniels, says less than a month after leaving, they got a call from Chiquita asking to continue to use the Port of Gulfport due to congestion in New Orleans. Until congestion clears, Chiquita will continue working out of south Mississippi.

Although the port is moving Chiquita containers on a temporary basis, port executives are hopeful this could lead to something more long term. Daniels says, "When the merger that was supposed to happen with Fyffes fell through and they were actually acquired by another company, there may be another type of business methodology that they look at and we’ll certainly be reaching out to them as the time comes and see what we can do long term for them."

Members of the Port Campaign say if Chiquita came back permanently and created those jobs the campaign says Gulfport desperately needs, they would be willing once again to support the former tenant that took away dozens of jobs. Cobb closes, “That would be a shot in the arm if we could get some more jobs from this. If this thing can become a permanent situation, we would welcome that.”

Federal requirements say the port needs to create 1,300 jobs by 2020 and Thursday, H.U.D. will be at the Port Authority’s monthly meeting to check on their progress.

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