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Port Announces New Tenant

By Evelina Burnett | Published 19 May 2014 03:38pm | comments
Port commission chair John Rester announces the new tenant at the Port of Gulfport.

Oil services company McDermott International will be the newest tenant at the Port of Gulfport. The announcement is good news for the port after long-time tenant Chiquita said last week it was leaving later this year.

Port of Gulfport director Jonathan Daniels says Houston-based McDermott International will both ship out of and manufacture at the port.

"It takes us in a little bit of a different direction in that we have production, light manufacturing, occuring on site," he says. "But at the same time, it's an import/export opportunity for us. The pipe comes in, our longshoremen will offload it. From that point, they'll be creating long lengths of pipe that will be put on a spool vessel. That vessel deposits that pipe in the Gulf of Mexico or the other locations.

He adds: "But it's not only the production activity, or the cargo activity, we're talking about. We will be their marine base of operations."

McDermott expects to create 100 full-time jobs, plus additional work for the port’s longshoremen. That's important because the port is in the middle of a $570 million taxpayer-funded restoration and expansion project requiring it to create 1,300 new jobs.

Chiquita’s departure means the loss of at least 50 full-time jobs but Daniels was upbeat yesterday about the port's ability to meet its overall jobs goal.

"When you take a look at the direct, the indirect and induced benefits and the jobs created - the transportation jobs ... again the 100 is just in the production facility, the multiplier in this will be two to three times that amount," he says. "That published number is just the start. We feel very confident that they will go a long way into helping us meet those goals."

McDermott expects to start construction on the site in the third quarter of 2015. Jackson Bullock is the company's vice president of offshore resources.

"There are a couple of phases of the jobs prospects," he says. "The first phase of that is the construction work that we have on the facility, to prepare it to become a spool base that functions for McDermott. And then beyond that, we will staff up workers who assist in the fabrication of the stalks on the base itself."

Yesterday, the port also entered a right of first refusal agreement with another potential tenant.

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Port commission chair John Rester announces the new tenant at the Port of Gulfport.


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