Longshoremen excited by rumors of Chiquita's return to Gulfport

Longshoremen excited by rumors of Chiquita's return to Gulfport

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Port of Gulfport may soon be re-connecting with an old business partner.

Chiquita operated in Gulfport for about 40 years before relocating to the Port of New Orleans in 2014. However, sources say that the company may decide to leave New Orleans and return to the Gulf Coast.

"Chiquita was a quarter of our funds that came into the union. So when they left, it took a quarter of our funds," said ILA President Chris Johnson.

Chiquita's return would mean a significant amount of hours for the longshoremen who unload those ships in Gulfport.

"That's the group that certainly was hurt most when they left. We lost about 80,000 longshoremen hours on an annual basis," said Port of Gulfport Executive Director Jonathan Daniels.

With the possibility of Chiquita's return, those longshoremen are extremely excited.

"Very happy. I'll be glad to see them when they get back cause that year that they've been gone has been tough," Jerry Williams said. "That'll bring a lot of money back to the pier."

"We just hope with a 40 year relationship that we've had in the past, that they made a business decision. We supported them when they decided to move to New Orleans, we hope that we have the opportunity to be able to bid on that and bring them back here," said Daniels.

Longshoremen and other Port of Gulfport workers will continue to hope for the best in the upcoming weeks.

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