Port deal will create high paying jobs in South Mississippi

Port deal will create high paying jobs in South Mississippi

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With a ceremonial memorandum of understanding signed in Gulfport by Governor Phil Bryant and the President and CEO of Edison Chouest Offshore, an economic development package became official.

"This is what we needed. A thousand jobs, averaging $40,000 a year in the ship building industry," Governor Bryant said.

The state worked out this deal with Edison Chouest with the intent of bringing 1,000 high paying jobs to the State Port at Gulfport's inland facility at TopShip on the industrial Seaway. The ship builder will also make a $68 million investment in the operation. Mississippi provided $11 million worth of incentives to make this agreement happen. This will help with the federal mandate to create jobs at the port in conjunction with the $570 million expansion project.

"By understanding that we have that 1,300 job requirement from HUD, the fact they are bringing in 1,000 jobs, it doesn't take the pressure off because we're still moving forward with economic activity, this goes a long way towards getting us to that 1,300 job number," said Port Director Jonathan Daniels.

Edison Chouest employs 15,000 men and women worldwide. The south Louisiana company's primary business is to build and provide vessels for the oil and gas industry. The jobs at TopShip will be along those lines.

"The jobs will be mainly in ship building and any other activity that supports the oil and gas industry. Construction, sub sea construction, and anything along those lines," said Gary Chouest, CEO of Edison Chouest.

Chouest also said he plans to fill those jobs with Mississippi workers. The state's $11 million investment includes workforce training.

Construction at the TopShip facility is slated to begin later this year and run into 2018. Edison Chouest expects to start commercial production in late 2018.

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