Hundreds Of Jobs Coming To Hancock County

Three hundred new jobs are headed to South Mississippi. A pipe manufacturer from India will make its first U.S. venture in Hancock County. Governor Haley Barbour and a list of state and county officials made the announcement Thursday in Diamondhead.

PSL North America will build a pipe manufacturing plant at Port Bienville. The company selected that spot, in part, because of its excellent access to water, rail and highway transportation. And the state's $9 million incentive package didn't hurt either.

"Hancock County is open for business," Board of Supervisors' President Rocky Pullman announced to the crowd gathered Thursday morning.

County leaders cheered the news that by mid-2008, PSL North America will be operating at Port Bienville.

"The addition of PSL North America to our Port Bienville Industrial Park represents another significant step on the road to recovery to our community," said Jack Zink, Executive Director of the Port & Harbor Commission.

The $80 million plant will look similar to one owned by its parent company in India. And 300 workers will produce 300,000 tons of large steel pipes a year.

"It's large diameter pipe," PSL North America CEO Brain Vaill explained. "Our primary target market is the natural gas, on shore natural gas transportation industry. This is large quantities, to get gas from point A to point B."

Port Bienville's newest tenant will set up shop on 150 acres. The manufacturing plant will span a half mile.

"This is a good thing for Hancock County," Pullman said.

"I'm pleased to say these 300 jobs Brian was talking about, the average pay is going to be $50,000 a year," Gov. Haley Barbour said. "I'm also pleased to say, Alex gave me permission to announce the company has already decided on an expansion that will require an additional $10 million investment and about 25 more jobs."

"We expect to bring on board our first group of fulltime employees in September of this year," Vaill said.

Building the pipe plant will also create hundreds of constructions jobs. That work is set to begin in July.

PSL will lease the 150 acres for $1 a year, as long as it maintains a workforce of 275. The company is also taking advantage of GoZone and other government money aimed at helping South Mississippi bounce back from Katrina.