GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Dole Food Company and the State Port at Gulfport marked a special occasion on Thursday. The company began operations at the State port half a century ago and has expended its footprint in Gulfport over the years.
Dole executives and local dignitaries took to the podium to recognize a relationship that began in 1964.
It's critical that the port keep Dole on the coast in the wake of the recent announcement that Chiquita will be leaving for New Orleans later this year.
"I cannot overemphasize the importance of Dole being at the port. We can never take this company for granted," said Governor Phil Bryant.
While the port is undergoing a multi million dollar restoration and expansion, the chairman of the board of Dole Food Company lit a fire under the Port Authority.
"I came in here because I wanted to see what is going on. To me, it seems like it's going too damn slow. I'm anxious to get this job finished," David Murdock said of the Port of the Future project.
Dole occupies more than 120,000 square feet at the port's east pier terminal. The company has a lease until 2017.