Industrial business booming in Hancock County

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - PSL North America is a steel pipe manufacturer. It started production seven months ago. Now, the first load of pipe is on its way to the company's first customer.

CEO of PSL North America Brian Vaill said, "We had 11 rail cars, consisting of a total pipe length of about 1.25 miles, leave the plant yesterday [Thursday]. It's a major accomplishment for us."

The pipe produced in Hancock County is headed to a company in Florida.

"For our client, we're producing approximately 400 miles of pipe that consist of about 200-thousand tons of steel," Vaill said. "That 400 miles of pipe is used to transport natural gas from point A to point B at very high pressures, so a significant amount of gas will go through these pipelines."

Right now PSL employs 250 people but within the next two to three months that number will jump to 305. Three new business have opened since Katrina:

  • PSL North America
  • MAC, LLC, a plastic bullet making company
  • Advanced Fire Protection, a sprinkler system business

Port Bienville is now home to 21 companies.

"What it means for the county, it means jobs. And for the port, it's income," said the Director of Port Bienville Steve Landry. "It's what keeps us going. We, in turn, offer services to these companies."

Landry says in spite of the national economy and Katrina, Port Bienville is on the move.

"We're happy with our growth," Landry said. "We're real happy with the direction we're going in."

Port Bienville leaders say they have plans to make several upgrades that will allow them to accommodate even more tenants at the 3,600 acre facility.

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