You may have noticed a growing mountain of dirt alongside the Port of Gulfport.
That dirt will soon become much needed expansion space.
Drive down Highway 90 west of Gulfport and you can't help but notice the work. A trio of construction cranes and hundreds of dump trucks are busy creating land at the Port of Gulfport.
The extra acreage will enhance a facility that's already the third busiest container port on the Gulf of Mexico.
Heavy equipment is busy moving tons of dirt at the port's western edge. It will take nearly three years of dirt work to turn sixty acres of water into useable land.
"Without land, you can't grow. And that's what we're doing. We're creating land where there's none. And our plan is to grow," said port director, Don Allee.
The expansion will accomodate the growing containerized cargo trade at the port's west terminal. More land means more space for cargo containers.
"You may see some rail trackage here to carry containers as rail cargo or you may also see and will see numerous truck lanes for movements of cargo by rubber tire," said Allee.
Creating land out of water is about the only option the port has for growth. Most every acre is already being used.
"It will be a tremendous addition. Because the total complement of our port is only 184 acres. And I say that only because I think we're a well managed port. We do a lot with really not that much room. We've utilized every square foot that we have very efficiently," the port director explained.
The port growth isn't limited to the west side. A similar but smaller project, the expansion of about twenty four acres, is already in the works for the east side of the port.
"Because we're not going to stop at just container growth. We are interested in the non containerized cargo too. And that's going to require land as well over on the east side," said Allee.
The sixty acre expansion will cost some 20 million dollars just for the dirt work. The work is part of a long range, 250 million dollar capital improvement program the port authority approved several years ago.