Dredging at Port of Gulfport to Bring in Millions in Revenue

Crews were setting up all Friday morning to start dredging the channel at the Port of Gulfport and expect to be getting started very soon. The dredging will allow larger ships to dock at the port, bringing millions in revenue into the port and the city.

Friday afternoon, crews were setting up to begin dredging the Port of Gulfport, which hasn’t been done since 2009. The federal government paid $4 million of the $12 million project, and it couldn’t have come a moment too soon.

Jonathan Daniels, Executive Director & C.E.O. of the Mississippi Port Authority, says, "It’s an immediate need. We do have some of our existing tenants, one of which specifically is Dupont, right now in order for them to bring their larger vessels in they have to go into the Mississippi River, remove some of their material, put it into barges, bring the barges around, and then bring the vessel around."

Once the channel is a 36 foot depth, Dupont will no longer have to waste resources on cargo exchange, and can come directly into the port, saving time and money. Howard Page of the Steps Coalition was not available for an interview, but told News 25 the dredging did raise some environmental concerns. The Port Authority is working with them to answer any questions.

Daniels also says, "Ultimately, we are looking at going to a greater depth than 36 feet. There’s environment impact statements being undertaken as we speak by the Army Corps of Engineers. They are evaluating the channel anywhere from 36 feet to 47. We want more depth. The more depth we can get in, the larger vessels we can get in."

The improvements to the port are expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue, but not just to the port itself. The Port Authority says it will boost the local economy as well. Daniels also says, "There’s about 70 to 100 people on these vessels at any given time. They go through crew changes every 28 days, so there are going to be people flying in, flying out. They are going to be staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants."

This extra revenue will help not only the Gulf Coast, but also the entire state. Daniels closes, "The reach goes well beyond just the City of Gulfport, but really the jobs themselves will be south Mississippi’s to own."

The dredging is expected to be completed by January. The additions to the port are expected to add 1,300 jobs and $300 million in revenue statewide.

Categories: Local News, News

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