PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Dozens of new jobs are coming to the VT Halter Marine. Shipyard officials said Mississippi has helped them a great deal, for which they are very grateful. In recent years, Mississippi has taken in a total of $22 million in federal grant money and awarded it to VT Halter Marine to help with its expansion.
VT Halter Marine officials said when they brought a dry dock in a year ago, their Pascagoula operation went from shipbuilding to shipbuilding and ship repair.
"It gives us a new line of business and it increases the revenue of the company," said Gen. John Coburn (Retired) VT Systems CEO. "It also allows you to weather the storm when shipbuilding is down and repair is up, and vice versa. So it gives you some continued revenue and stability."
The company also created an additional 400 jobs.
"We'd like to expand that though. We have maximized our dry dock now that the state helped us get," said Coburn. "We'd like to bring in a couple of more dry docks and continue to expand, and along with expansion comes jobs for the community."
To get the dry dock to Pascagoula, Mississippi chipped in $20 million to VT Halter Marine's $13 million investment. Now the company is breaking ground on a new blast and paint building which will be $7 million the shipbuilder and $2 million from the state.
Gov. Phil Bryant said, "VT Halter Marine is one of the most respected shipbuilders, re-manufacturers and re-fabricators in the world. Not just in the United States."
Officials hope to start constructing the blast and paint in facility in about three months, which they say will mean 40 new jobs. VT Halter Marine officials said those jobs would not be possible without the support of the state.
Coburn said, "I get to interface with a lot of the states. I can tell you that Mississippi is one of the most progressive states in the union, as far as taking care of the companies. Again, they do have a good package to bring folks in, but they really care about folks that are already here as well."
VT Halter Marine officials say the new blast and paint building will make their operation more efficient. They will be able to recover and use blasting materials and they won't have to stop work and lose precious work hours due to severe weather.