Longshoremen pleased after one year anniversary of Chiquita's return

Longshoremen pleased after one year anniversary of Chiquita's return

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of Chiquita making its way back to the Port of Gulfport after a little over a year hiatus.

Gulfport Long Shoreman James Beavers forklifts a batch of Chiquita products at the Port of Gulfport, something he's been doing now for the past year.

"SInce Chiquita returned, we've got more production and all the ships get a lot of cargo coming in and going out," said Beavers.

Back in 2014, the company moved operations to New Orleans, a move that left many workers hurting.

"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 Vice President, Chris Johnson.

During that year hours were cut and jobs were lost, but now Gulfport Long Shoremen President Darius Johnson says things have made a 180-degree turn.

"People are actually back to work and things have been extremely positive for us as longshoremen since Chiquita has been back," said ILA President Darius Johnson.

The return not only brought back the old jobs but created new ones, too.

"We have crane operators, truck drivers, forklift operators and all of us work together to make this operation work," said Darius.

For Beavers, it means more food on the table for his family.

"Able to buy things that I couldn't buy. With man hours going up, the salary goes up," said Beavers.

Since Chiquita's return, there's been a 31 percent increase in mass cargo transported through the Port of Gulfport.

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