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Revised Port Expansion Plan Sent to Governor

By Rhonda Miller | Published 01 Aug 2012 08:44am | comments
Photo Credit: Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport

An updated plan for expansion of the state port in Gulfport has been sent to the Governor.  As MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports, the Governor wants to speed up the five-hundred-seventy-million-dollar project.

Port Commission President Lenny Sawyer said yesterday the draft of the plan sent to the governor has a commitment to creating jobs, an updated restoration schedule and a strategic marketing plan to attract new business.

"Since day one, since the Governor hit the ground he is a great, great supporter of our port and he wants to see it grow bigger and we do, too. And we’re working real hard to get after every carrier out there can come down our channel at 36 feet. "

Public criticism spiked last week when port officials said mega-ships expected from the expanded Panama Canal won’t be coming to Gulfport because the 36-foot channel isn’t deep enough to handle them.  Gulfport wants to deepen its channel to 45 feet. The new ships require a 50-foot channel.

Governor Bryant said last week he ordered a corrective action plan from port leaders.

"We have told them to move forward aggressively. We have a plan that is very simple. We want to make sure that we’ve got the port of the future, that’s increasing the TEUs, the amount of the containers there, up to a million by 2017. We must create another 1200 jobs to get to roughly 2600, that’s goal number two.  And then we’ve got to deepen that channel. Now that’s a long range."

A summary of the report will be released after the Governor’s reviews the updated plan. 

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Photo Credit: Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport


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