Port of Gulfport ready for another hurricane season - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Port of Gulfport ready for another hurricane season

Port officials meet with law enforcement and emergency management agencies to prepare for the 2017 hurricane season. (Photo source: WLOX) Port officials meet with law enforcement and emergency management agencies to prepare for the 2017 hurricane season. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

With a $570 million expansion project and 10 tenants, the Port of Gulfport has a lot of assets to protect during hurricane season. And no one knows that better than the port's Executive Director Jonathan Daniels.

“We hope we're sitting here a year from now talking about the fact that we made it through another season,” he told the group gathered for the port’s annual hurricane preparedness meeting. “If we don’t, we’ll deal with it.”

And he said his port is as prepared to deal with a hurricane as it has ever been.

"We do feel better with each season that goes by," he said. "But we do anticipate with the hurricane plans we have in place right now that we’re always ready."

He said better building codes, tie-down procedures for cranes, and evacuation plans have the port well prepared.

"What we want to do is be back up and in operation as quickly as possible, realizing that we don’t want to put anybody in harm’s way. But ultimately realizing that there will be a storm that comes through here again."

Hurricane Katrina, he said, was the best teacher.

"The reason we’re here right now - in many respects the reason we’re talking about this and the port as an asset is because what happened on Aug. 29, 2005," Daniels said. "We’ve learned a lot of lessons from that and those are lessons that we took to heart."

The meeting with climate specialists, law enforcement, and emergency management agencies is just one part of a long-term commitment that officials say makes the port stronger.

"It’s due to the communication we have all year round and the partnerships we've built with the state and local folks here," said Joe Snowden of the U.S. Coast Guard. "We know each other. And that’s the most important thing when you respond to any kind of emergencies that you know and trust the people you’re working with, and we’ve done that here."

Tenants also have their own plans in place.

"I think we’re in a well-prepared position," said Simon Pike of McDermott. "We have good, documented plans and we go through drills and make sure we’re ready should the worst happens."

Daniels said that the port has several inland locations throughout the city to relocate assets, if necessary, including the Inland Port on Seaway Road.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly