GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Those driving along Highway 90 Thursday probably noticed a bigger than normal ship at the Port of Gulfport.
It not only makes an impressive picture, but it also represents the positive result of a decision made five years ago.
In 2015, the Port of Gulfport became a Strategic Seaport and huge ships like the Liberty Pride, carrying massive amounts of military equipment, is part of the fruit of that effort.
The 700-foot ship looms large on the horizon, and so does its mission to the Port of Gulfport - one of four Strategic Seaports under the command of the 842nd Transportation Battalion in Beaumont, Texas.
“All four of the Strategic Ports are instrumental in our ability to project combat power worldwide,” said battalion commander Lt. Col. Gordon Vincent.
In this mission, about 400 engineering vehicles are being returned to Texas from overseas operations.
Vincent said missions would bog down if it weren't for this port.
“It would continue to essentially pile cargo up into other ports,” he said. “And what it gives us is another opportunity to increase the speed and velocity of which we can deploy the forces.”
At the same time, it supports local workers.
“Our stevedore and longshore partners are locals,” he said. “We come in and we provide an oversight perspective, but the individuals who are working this vessel are citizens that are working for a local company here locally.”