Port of Gulfport Continues Recovery

Located on the western shore of Gulfport, the port took a beating as Katrina made landfall, unleashing the brunt of her power on the port. Ten years later, the recovery process is still in tow, as the port continues to rebuild, create more jobs and land new tenants.
A steady stream of ships and trucks leave and enter the Port of Gulfport, a sign the port is up and running ten years after Katrina tore it apart. Rebuilding and recruiting new tenants tops the port’s agenda. Executive Director for the Port of Gulfport Jonathan Daniels said, “We’ve been very active, very aggressive and successful in our business development activity. The reason that you see McDermott and the entire east pier is because of the public investment to be able to restore and expand the port.”
To restore the port, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development gave the port $570 million to rebuild. The main stipulation with that grant is the port must create 1300 jobs through the Port of Gulfport Restoration Project. Port Director Jonathan Daniels assures those jobs are on the way, something that the area’s councilman is eagerly awaiting.
Kenneth L. Casey Sr., Gulfport City Council Ward 1, said, “I see a lot of progress, a lot of pilings going into the ground, a lot of infrastructure. Hopefully, within the near future, soon as possible, we will have 1300 more union jobs, long shore jobs.”
After Katrina, trailers from the port, and their contents, littered the surrounding area and became an important lesson learned in the hurricane’s wake. “How we handle our evacuation. How we actually work hand in hand with the community to make sure we get material off the port site. Get it to a safe location. So, it’s not just damage that occurs, certainly from the natural disaster, but any material that may be left on site,” said Daniels.
As jobs continue to sail into the port, the next big question is when it will be made deeper and what it will take to make that dredging happen. According to Governor Phil Bryant, they still have some hills to climb before they get there. “And of course, it needs to be deeper; we’ve said that from the beginning. But we have to generate the revenue to deepen it. We want it to be 46 feet to handle those super panamacs.”
The port hopes to be done with reconstruction within the next two years.

Categories: Local News, News

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