This is definitely a port that's going to continue to grow. Port Director Don Allee sees potential at the Port of Gulfport. The new port director says our area has all the elements for continued success.
"It's got containers. It's got general cargo. It's got some very lucrative leases. And it has a legitimate shot at becoming a cruise destination or a cruise home port," Allee said.
The new director wants to build on the existing business that keeps the port active. Every pound of freight that goes across the dock generates some sort of economic activity. The beneficiary is the local community and the state.
The port may one day be sending such cargo to Cuba. Allee is optimistic about the opening of free trade in Cuba, but cautions Cuba itself isn't a "get rich" cargo destination.
"But it is a market that represents an opportunity for the state of Mississippi. Rice, building materials, other goods, refrigerated chicken - things like that."
One existing project the new director plans to pursue is the enhanced rail line from Gulfport to Hattiesburg. Moving cargo on such a high speed rail corridor will create new opportunities.
"That really opens up. Two thirds of the United States becomes our market. Not that it's not right now, but it's certainly going to be enhanced."
Allee says Gulfport is well positioned to be a strong competitor for future trade.