Port of Gulfport racing the clock to get ready for Chiquita's return

Port of Gulfport racing the clock to get ready for Chiquita's return

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Amid a flurry of activity with general expansion at the Port of Gulfport, work is in high gear to prepare for the return of Chiquita to the port. The company is set to come back after two years in New Orleans, and port officials are putting everything in place to get ready.

"About the Aug. 8 is their last vessel in and out of New Orleans. From that point, there will be a significant amount of chaos, because they have one week to prepare. A lot of electrical work needs to be done. A lot of that work will be temporary. We're putting in new plugs in. We're paving areas. We're putting trailers and scales in. Essentially, four to five months of work is being condensed down to five or six weeks," said Port Director Jonathan Daniels.

Chiquita will return to its previous location in the north harbor and expand its operations into terminal one. Chiquita will require a larger footprint, encompassing 32 acres.

The port is working on a very tight time line.

"The first vessel for Chiquita will arrive here at approximately 5 o'clock in the afternoon on Aug. 15. It's an exciting time for us. A lot has to be done. A lot has been done. Within 24 hours of executing the agreement, we had electricians down there putting in plugs and reinstalling work that was torn out when they left. We're putting in pavement and scales," Daniels said.

The port is committed to constructing a 20,000-square-foot temperature controlled warehouse, and Chiquita will use 110,000 square feet of space in the new west terminal transit hub.

Chiquita has signed a 40-year lease with the state port.

Louisiana gave the company millions of dollars worth of incentives to move to the Port of New Orleans. Mississippi did not have to offer any financial considerations to lure Chiquita back to the Port of Gulfport.

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