Chicken Ban Could Hurt Ports - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Chicken Ban Could Hurt Ports

   Mississippi chicken exports is big business at the Port of Gulfport and the Port of Pascagoula.  Wednesday, at the Port of Gulfport, longshoremen loaded chicken onto two Russian bound ships. It could be the last poultry shipments for awhile because Russia wants to stop U.S. poultry exports. Longshoreman Matt Keel says, "We're concerned about it. It's gonna affect all of us so we hope to see everything get straightened out pretty quick cause it's gonna affect everyone out here." And Damian Johnson says, "I think they just really need to get it straight, really cause we need to make some money. We need some money, we gotta live."

    Even if there is a ban on American poultry, the port director says the more than 200 longshoremen will stay on the job. Still Don Allee is thinking about the long term impact. "We have a pretty broad base of cargos so hopefully nobody would be immediately laid off but that would be a long term concern. We would hope to see an increase in some of our other lines of business," says Allee.  Allee says any ban on exports could hurt business and that's why he hopes the U.S. and Russia will resolve the dispute. "It's certainly out of the port's hands. These situations are usually resolved diplomatically and all we'll try to do is make Washington understand we have some concerns here at our port not only for the business but for the jobs this business creates." Good paying jobs that longshoremen say will sorely be missed if Russia bans U-S chicken.

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