Sunday, August 9, 2015

Whither goes the Port of Gulfport?

Will deepening the channel for the Port of Gulfport make it more competitive or would it be a boondoggle bigger than the likes of Kior and the Beef Processing Plant fiascos? Some experts say the port will fall further behind its competitors once the expansion of the Panama Canal can be completed.

Daniel Ikenson of the Cato Institute pointed out Southeastern port are not prepared for the expansion in a recent Wall Street Journal Column:

The 10-year project to widen the Panama Canal for more traffic and a new class of supersize container vessels called “Post-Panamax” ships, with cargo capacity 2½ times greater than the current standard Panamax ships, is nearly complete. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, these vessels can lower shipping costs from 15%-20%, but harbors need to be at least 47 feet deep to accommodate them. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that only seven of the 44 major U.S. Gulf Coast and Atlantic ports are “Post-Panamax ready.”

The absence of suitable harbors, especially in the fast-growing Southeast, means fewer infrastructure- and business-development projects to undergird regional growth. It also means that Post-Panamax ships will have to continue calling on West Coast ports, where their containers will be put on trucks and railcars to get products from Asia to the U.S. East and Midwest—a slower and more expensive process. Rest of the column.
Hofstra University spelled it out in this map and the study The Geography of Transport Systems

 As the world container fleet gets upgraded with larger ships, major ports are facing the challenge of accommodating deeper vessel drafts. While a typical Panamax containership could be accommodated by a 35-foot channel, the new generation of post-Panamax containerships handling above 5,000 TEUS requires a berth depth above 42 feet and a depth of 50 feet is required to handle ships above 10,000 TEUs. Under such circumstances, many ports are not accessible to the new post-panamax containerships. The expansion of the Panama Canal to a depth of 50 feet and a capacity of 12,000 TEU (New Panamax ships) has also placed additional pressures. This has triggered a "race to the bottom" in the dredging of several East Coast ports such as Miami (50 feet by 2014), New York (50 feet by 2014) and Savannah (47 feet by 2017). Other ports have dredging plans. Yet, such projects are very expensive and require careful consideration of the marginal benefits they convey. Study

 The question that should be asked is will the ports on the Mississippi Gulf Coast be able to compete or will it fall further behind other ports in the Southeast.  It appears there will be no progress towards deepening the channel for the Port of Gulfport.  The Sun-Herald reported in July:

 A deeper ship channel has been scrapped as part of a study on future expansion at the state port, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has confirmed.

The Corps undertook an expansion study in 2011 that was modified in 2013 to include deepening the ship channel from 36 feet to 42-47 feet. Channel deepening is seen as a key to port growth. Without a deeper channel, the port will be unable to compete for cargo being hauled on larger ships that require drafts deeper than Gulfport can offer. What's more, the port is spending about $30 million on three, rail-mounted gantry cranes designed for bigger vessels.

"The cranes are being built with an eye toward the future with a deeper channel," port Executive Director Jonathan Daniels said. "If we needed to get additional cranes after deepening the channel, we would be chastised for not being forward-thinking. In addition, the cranes are not used exclusively for container handling. With the longer reach, it allows for us to work barges that may be rafted up alongside a vessel to allow us to go from ship, to an outer reach and directly into barge."

Pat Robbins, legislative and public affairs chief for the Corps in Mobile, said channel deepening was removed from the study because state port officials learned the state would have to pay the entire cost for the deeper channel, plus cover perpetual maintenance, because Congress did not authorize or fund the study.

The other essential transportation element for an expanded port -- a north-south connector road between the port and Interstate 10 -- has been stalled by litigation.

The process to secure federal funding for a deeper channel optimistically takes at least 10 years, and involves environmental and economic studies. Congress must authorize and fund each step.

Port Executive Director Jonathan Daniels said the state port still plans to pursue a deeper ship channel. The Army Corps study still includes adding 200 acres, 160 of it on the West Pier. The remaining 40 acres would square off the north harbor for additional docking and open storage, Daniels said.

The Corps' timeline called for a draft of its study to be completed in early 2014, but Robbins said removal of channel deepening has slowed the process. Robbins said the draft should be finished in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, the port is already spending $570 million on West Pier expansions the Corps previously authorized. The federal funding, provided as Hurricane Katrina relief, requires the port to create 1,300 full-time jobs. The latest federal report shows 98 full-time jobs created, but the port still has fewer workers than it did before Katrina. Daniels said jobs have been created despite ongoing construction on the West Pier that will not be finished until 2017.....   Rest of article.
 However, the New York Times questioned  in 2012 whether ports should deepen their channels to handle the post-Panamex ships:

The big ships will also come via places beyond Panama: many are expected to come from Southeast Asia through the Suez Canal, and from South America’s eastern ports. But more fundamental questions have been raised about the real benefits of the coming trade, and especially the effects of the new canal traffic.

Moving goods by water is generally cheaper than moving them by land because of the economies of scale of moving so many containers on those big ships, said John Martin, a ports consultant in Lancaster, Pa. So that would suggest canal routes will offer lower-cost shipping to the East Coast and Midwest through the canal.

But, he said, containers loaded on the West Coast, which has built up its container yards and highway and rail infrastructure, can outrun those that travel to the East Coast by water, and that can make the difference when speed and dependability are more important than cost alone. Besides, he added, costs and fees can shift; Panama can be expected to raise rates for canal passage, and “the railroads are not going to sit idly by” and let the water route undercut their business.

Scudder Smith, a consultant with the engineering consulting firm Parsons Brinkerhoff, said that a water passage, “all things being equal, will cause cost reductions — but all things are not equal,” he added, and so “I’m not at all confident in any numbers.”

That could be why J. Christopher Lytle, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, does not sound a bit worried. “There’s just not going to be a huge movement of cargo from the West Coast to the East Coast,” he said....
After talking up port projects in ways that sound a bit like the overblown economic predictions about new stadiums and convention centers in recent years, some officials are now scaling back their claims. After Hurricane Katrina, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi trumpeted plans for a “port of the future” at Gulfport with a 50-foot-deep channel, redirecting some $600 million in federal housing disaster funds on a project he pledged would spur the economy and create bountiful jobs. A state official at the time called it “the single largest economic-development project in the state’s history,” and officials predicted that it would surpass the Port of Los Angeles.

Today, Mississippi and the port are being more modest. The port recently noted that it is not pursuing the announced plans to dredge the channel to 50 feet, and because of lapsed maintenance, the channel does not even reach the depth of 36 feet authorized by law. The port is now focused on improving what it has instead of expanding greatly, and plans focus more on the cascade effect as smaller ships are crowded out of the major ports by the new superships..... Rest of article.

Kingfish note:  The purpose of this post is to start a discussion of whether Mississippi should take more action regarding the study and deepening of the channel.  Should funds from the BP settlement be directed towards at least a study of deepening the channel?  Is this a a worthy economic development project?  It was the Gulf Coast that suffered from the BP disaster.  It is the Gulf Coast who should get the majority of the settlement even though legislators are scheming to steal the money.  The Kingfish is woefully ignorant on this subject and welcomes any discussion as it is an interesting problem for Mississippi. 

However, the state has blown money on stupid experimental energy projects such as Kior, Twin Creeks, and Stion while the port of Gulfport focuses on a table-scrap future- taking the leftovers from other ports.  Mississippi, the table scrap economy.  It has a nice, revolting ring to it, doesn't it?

Explanation of different levels of container ships in The Geography of Transport Systems


Anonymous said...

"Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their Master's table."

Anonymous said...

Increasing volume at the port is useless without improvements to the infrastructure which would support additional volume. There are no efficient North/South ground transportation routes and current rail siding is insufficient at best.

Anonymous said...

I take offense with the "stupid experimental energy projects" remark. The state took a gamble and lost. I'd rather the state try rather than sit on their butts and do nothing and fall further behind in the process.

Victor Fleitas said...

Timely post. I've been thinking about this very question lately due primarily to some issues near and dear to my heart.

The first issue involves the inevitable expansion of trade opportunities (primarily in agricultural commodities and building materials) Mississippi stands to benefit from due to normalized relations with Cuba.

This trade has been ongoing on a limited scale for some time with Mississippi producers under special agreements sanctioned by the federal government. Adequate port facilities are crucial to taking advantage of those potential opportunities since Mississippi stands in a good position to serve as a point of embarkation for agricultural commodities from the heartland and is very close to Cuba.

Think I'm kidding? Here's a link to an article from March 2005 where the CEO of the Port of Gulfport is quoted:

Here's one from 2002, where the CEO of the Port of Pascagoula talks about the trade with Cuba as a huge potential market for Mississippi:

I've been reading articles like this since arriving in Mississippi, over twenty years ago, and never seen any genuine effort on the part of government leaders to actually take advantage of Mississippi's natural geographic advantage. I hope they wake the Hell up for the long-term sake of the residents of Mississippi.

The second issue involves trade with Mexico and more importantly, Central America. A personal story may serve as an example.

Currently, an old friend is in the end stages of an electrification project in Nicaragua. Consider it a sort of super mini-TVA. The power plant he built uses an old WWII German technology which the Chinese license to produce electricity (1 megawatt to start and 4 megawatts at full throttle). The electrical plant produces fuel oil, carbon black, and steel as by products. The electrical energy is generated by using waste car tires and putting them through the pyrolysis process. This process, produces electricity relatively cheaply, produces marketable by products for sale, and disposes of mountains of car tires. Anyone who lives here knows how many junk tires are scattered around the state and country degrading the environment. How about putting them on ships in Mississippi ports and sending them where they could do some good?

Here's a YouTube link from the National Science Foundation on the Pyrolysis process:

The gasification produced by this process is used to power the turbines to produce the electricity in the power plant.

Could a port expansion and dredging project to maintain Mississippi's competitiveness as a point of embarkation and debarkation for trade goods turn into a giant boondoggle? Given this State's history, there's a fair chance it might. It could also provide a way for this State, perennially behind the eight ball, to lead for a change.

It's high time for our Congressional delegation (and the delegations of the Gulf states) and State leaders to get busy and bring those dollars where they could do US some potential good. An increase in the ability of Gulf ports to do trade in the Gulf region and globally might actually make the greatest heist in U.S. history (the Tenn-Tom Waterway) into something it was originally slated to be, a major artery for global trade.

Kingfish said...

Get offended, then.

Victor Fleitas said...

@ 12:35 Agree! Let's expand port capacity and improve infrastructure simultaneously. They're not mutually exclusive.

Also, the Tenn-Tom Waterway may actually serve the main purpose it was designed for. Barge traffic with agricultural commodities may be an answer.

@12:55 Disagree. The State took a gamble on an untested and unverified process on behalf of a corporation with much needed tax dollars. Beef Plant, bad! Kior, bad! Next . . . .

Anonymous said...

12:55 KiOR came to MS with a sales pitch and a YouTube bid of their process. This was after being turned down for funding by other states. That gamble cost taxpayers at least $70M and counting. What's offensive is the lack of accountability and responsibility by state leadership.

Anonymous said...

By the time I was twelve years old, I knew that "You can't do business on the Coast, unless you're in the Mob."

In the ensuing half-century, NOTHING I have learned about the area has contradicted that statement. And every entity which has attempted to do business down there recognizes the place as an extension of the "New Orleans Banana Republic". The Coast is so corrupt, it's dysfunctional.

Who would be foolish enough to invest big money in a major venture down there?

Even if some entity momentarily explored investing in port improvements, the Singing River scandal (which tells you everything you'll need to know about the business climate down there) would quickly come to light, and those with venture capital would cease their explorations. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's what HAS happened - repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

>>I take offense with the "stupid experimental energy projects" remark. The state took a gamble and lost. I'd rather the state try rather than sit on their butts and do nothing and fall further behind in the process. <<

There is this concept of opportunity cost.

If the state had unlimited financial resources, then it could throw money at every idea hoping that some would succeed. However, this is not the case. Every well intentioned (or ill intentioned) boondoggle has displaced other possibly better opportunities. There is a reason Mississippi is at the back of the pack, and wasting government dollars on stupid schemes won't do much to change that. In the meantime, the taxpayers are screwed and we all know who ALWAYS gets paid in full (and usually up front- not after the chapter 11 or 7.)

The opportunity cost concept also allows consideration that if the taxpayers are not taxed to support foolish schemes then they might better invest their own dollars rather than pay taxes to pay off connected fatcats inventing the latest subsidized scheme.

Victor Fleitas said...

@ 1:45 The sad thing about KiOR is that it could have worked well but was not as well thought through as it should have been. KiOR relied exclusively on the fuel oil produced from the biomass for its revenue. When its production of fuel oil fell far below its stated expectations (how is that possible when a process is decades old and science is science?), it was doomed.

Now, if it had used waste tires instead of biomass, used the gasification to produce energy (for plant use and to sell back to the grid), and sold not only fuel oil but carbon black and steel, it might have been diversified enough to succeed and clear out the endless supply of tires around here.

Anyways, back on topic, I'm in favor of port expansion.

Jim Johnson said...

It seems to me a major North - South Trade Opportunity has been smothered and shoved aside by all the talk about an enlarged Panama Canal and Super Sized Ships bringing massive amounts of Asian Cargo. The most incredible International Trade Opportuniy for Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexici Ports is to latch up tight with the most capable and efficient production nation in the entire Southern Hemisphere...The nation of Brazil.
No other country in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere with the exception of The United States can match the production of Brazil in every possible category. Agricultural Production ( Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables ), ( There are farming regions of Brazil equal to Five Nebraskas that haven't even brought into production ), Aviation Manufacturing ( Brazil has lead the world in producing CRJ Planes ), Ethanol Production ( Most efficiently from Sugar Cane ), Oil and Gas Production, Precious Metals Mining, Steel Fabricating and Production, etc.
Virtually all of which does not require larger cargo vessels or use of the Panama Canal.
The number one objective of The State Port in Gulfport, Harrison County and The City of Gulfport should be an elevated ingress and egress, multi-lane expressway to I-10 and a large and efficient Container Facility with an adjoining Free Trade Zone of warehouses.
This North - South Trade Axis the above mentioned facts tend to support, could become the largest Economic Development Excercise in the history of The State of Mississippi and the Northern Gulf Region of America.
Why in the world do Mississippians need to be concerned over larger cargo ships and the expense of servicing them, when we have far less costly and much more profitable ventures by partnering with our huge neighbor to the south???

Kingfish said...

One problem is too many local companies see Brazil as the enemy. Cochran was one of the few Senators to vote against ending Brazil tariff on ethanol, for example.

At least you are discussing ways to expand the port and use it properly. I've always thought it was ignored in the past.

Anonymous said...

Setting aside the issue of whether or not it was the right thing to divert all that CDBG money to fund the port (it was), the fact of the matter is that in order for the port to capitalize on all the improvements made, the channel has to be deeper. There is just no alternative. They have got to come up with the money to do it -- and it is a lot of money -- somehow. It may look to some like throwing good money after bad, but it's the only way to get any sort of meaningful return on the investments that have already been made.

Anonymous said...

So do we need an interstate to replace Hwy 49?

Victor Fleitas said...

@ Jim Johnson: Excellent points! Like @ 3:32 PM, I agree that some improvements to the Gulf ports must be made to take advantage of the trade opportunities you've mentioned. The other Gulf states will not sit idly by while our State leadership collectively fails to lead on trade.

Anonymous said...

Or at least an interstate along hwy 49 from the port of Gulfport to Hattiesburg to link up to US 59 and the route to the East Coast.

Anonymous said...

"So do we need an interstate to replace Hwy 49?"
August 9, 2015 at 5:57 PM

Yes. We ABSOLUTELY do need for 49 to be upgraded to Interstate standards. And all the stoplights which have been added in recent decades should never have happened. Much of Mississippi is CRIPPLED by the thoughtless and wanton development along our divided highways. Greenville (as just one example) would be viable, if there were a good way to get there. But there ISN'T. It takes FOREVER to get there from I55, because of all the stops which were allowed along 82. The unnecessary twenty added minutes it takes to stop-and-go through Greenwood, means that it takes just too damned long, to get to Greenville.

And Highway 49, south of Jackson, is even worse. Not only does it waste time, having to stop for all those lights in all those tiny towns: building up speed, after a stop, wastes a considerable amount of fuel - often meaning the difference between profit and loss for a trucking company and/or its customers. Increased fuel costs equal increased transportation costs: just another something making Mississippi less economically viable. Irresponsible development of our highways is just another example of how the state sabotages itself.

Anonymous said...

7:09- what you mean to say is that hwy 49 be upgraded into a freeway/ expressway.
( freeway-a highway with on/ off ramps instead of intersections).
This IS ms, so I felt the need to point that out to you.

You want a freeway and/or expressway for 49.

Anonymous said...

.. whether or not it was the right thing to divert all that CDBG money to fund the port (it was) ...

Nope, it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

This is the best of JJ. MS needs this, but the commentary re the infrastructure is critical. Is we can't get that, the project is dead. Why not push hard on the Brazil ex/inport? This post is an excellent thought provoking way to enhance our state. Thanks

Anonymous said...

The port project, like so many other schemes that Barbour has his paws on, was yet another one to enrich his "friends and family, and therefore himself in the process. All you folks for the port project should ask where the cost/benefit study is, and where will the funding come from?

Anonymous said...

The comments have been excellent . Thankfully, very few have engaged in the same tired political bashing.

In reading the very good article and interesting comments, a couple of things caught my attention.

The first is that Miami is already ahead of the game in preparing their port. So, I have to wonder if there will be enough cargo so that we can compete since clearly Miami will be finished first. How many of these super ships will there be and can Miami handle them all? Why would Biloxi be a better destination for Cuba than Miami?

It also seems to me to matter how the cargo gets distributed once the ships are unloaded. So, that begs the question " What advantage can Biloxi offer in getting the goods distributed?" I would think that our roads and rails matter at that point. But, I also ( admittedly intuitively) question whether there's any advantage over Miami from dock to destination.

I do agree with you in principle, KF, that the bulk of disaster relief funds should go to the affected area. There are some exceptions and I would put an Interstate highway connection to Jackson to connect with I-20 and I-55 as one. That would benefit the coast.

Anonymous said...

But gaming was supposed to fix everything.

Anonymous said...

Other SE cities are already upgrading their ports....Miami, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, and Savannah. One reason shipping companies will look to SE ports is the labor cost and unions associated with west coast ports. A Long Beach crane operator makes $250k plus their must be a backup operator on hand at all times for each crane. This is something MS needs to be on top of and should have been working towards post Katrina. However, I doubt that our legislature can see big picture ideas and understand what needs to be done.

Kingfish said...

Gambling did its share but we are neglecting that one and are going to let that one fall behind as well.

My point is we don't' leverage and develop the assets we have while we wasted our money on experimental crap.

Anonymous said...

First, the was no "re-direct" of CDBG funds. Over $5 Billion in Katrina relief was spent on affordable housing, Newmarket Tax Credit, Go-Zone projects. And now we have a glut of affordable housing on the Coast. New Orleans and Mobile spend $560 million every 5 years dredging and building infrastructure at their Ports whether there is a hurricane or not. Not one penny was diverted away from CDBG for Gulfport. What better way to Develop the Community than providing a place for these affordable housing residents to have a job. I hope we do use some BP funds to dredge the channel deeper and NOT spend it on infrastructure in Jafrica.

Anonymous said...

the 98 jobs created, instead of 1300, should open your eyes to the lofty predictions of the mr. barbour. the damn water is too shallow in the sound going into the gulfport harbor. further east at pascagoula where there is infrastructure would at least not require an elevated highway over the city of gulfport, ruining tourism for that area which brings in more money and jobs. but at least he diverted that money away from building more subsidized apartment complex housing.

Anonymous said...

The turn-highway-49-into-an-interstate idea should be a separate discussion than the port channel issue, given the different funding sources involved. I don't see it happening for a number of reasons -- no money in the highway trust fund, the need to carve through downtown Gulfport to widen a corridor big enough to accommodate an interstate being two of them that come to mind. And since most of the port cargo is shipped via rail anyway, I don't really know what difference it would make.

Anonymous said...

Surely there is a way around downtown Gulfport for any interstate improvement.

James Johnson said...

Miami is at a distinct disadvantage when competing with an "Enhanced Gulfport Intermodal Infrastructure"... due to the nearly 400 mile North/South Road Trip the Containers must travel just to clear the Florida State line and connect with the East/West and North/South Interstate Complex which serves the bulk of the United States population.
Since someone brought up politics earlier...let us not forget the superior position a Mississippian holds as the Chairman of The United States Senate Appropriations Committee and several of it's subcommittees.
Now should be THE TIME for all of our Local, State and Federal Officials to work together in funding and building the finest Intermodal (Rail, Ship, Truck) Facility on the Northern Gulf Coast.

As one of our beloved Presidents once said..."If Not Us, Then Who and If Not Now, Then When ??

Anonymous said...

Sure, fund it but not with the BP Settlement $$$.

Pappy Odaniel said...

Pretty simple, the Corps only maintains up to 45'. Anything above that you're on your own. But that made no difference to Haley. Just another one of the turds left lingering in the bowl. Sold everyone a bill of goods based on faulty assumptions that should have never been used for planning...same as Kior (lignite coal), biofuels (completely economically unfeasible), Greentech ( outright fraud), Beef Plant (in an area without enough beef), and these stupid solar panel companies in every backwater town building 1980s technology panels competing with cheaper, more efficient Chinese panels...same story throughout all of these politicians selling their buddies a bill of goods to get taxpayer money backing some boondoggle where all their buddies get paid up front and the taxpayer is left bruised, bloodied and under some pine straw in the ditch on the side of the road wondering what happened.

Victor Fleitas said...

@ 7:02 AM: What James Johnson said. As someone who has made the road trip to Miami from Mississippi many times, it's just too damn long a way to get agricultural products from the heartland all the way down there by truck and even rail. Mississippi is better situated geographically to serve as a prime point of debarkation for agricultural commodities from the Midwest.

North South said...

The Coast went to shat when The Dream Room closed down.

And, yes....we do need an interstate to replace 49, but it needs to bypass Jackson entirely. And that is a very serious comment.

Kingfish said...

I don't think anyone here is opposing a cost-benefit study.

Anonymous said...

There was no re-direct of CDBG funds. Over $5 Billion spent on affordable housing, apartment complexes in Starkville, Go-Zone, Newmarket Tax Credits, etc..... Why not Develop the Community with CDBG funds by providing jobs at the Port. 10% of Katrina funds being spent to create jobs is the right thing to do. And the jobs are not just on the actual Port. They are truckers, chicken processors, agri-business, mechanics, maintenance, etc.....Stop bashing the Port.

James Johnson said...

Hey Folks...

Our ideas may not "see the light of day" with any of the Policy Makers and/or Funders. However, the Most Economical and Least Intrusive Method of reaching from the Port of Gulfport to I-10 and on up to Hattiesburg, would be for the State of Mississippi, the Federal Government and the Railroads to Joint Venture an Elevated Expressway utilizing the airspace above the existing RAIL ROW from the port to at least Palmer's Crossing in Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Mississippi. This could be a WIN WIN WIN FOR ALL PARTIES AND A HUGE ECONOMICAL BOOST FOR JOBS AND COMMUNITIES ALONG THE ROUTE. AND, NOT REQUIRE US TO PLACE OUR HOPES ON ANY UNPROVEN TECHNOLOGY !!!

Anonymous said...

anyone advocating a "flyover" up 27th avenue obviously doesn't live down here. and i doubt they'll be truthful about how many more jobs and $ come from tourism than the port. you could probably put one damn casino on that site and get more jobs and revenue than the port ever will.

Anonymous said...

1:22 and how many minimum wage/housekeeping jobs versus the type of wages longshoremen get?

James Johnson said...

Well...Let me add that I lived on West 28th Street in Gulfport overlooking the Sea Bee Base for a number of years and I sincerely do not believe Piggybacking up over the rail lines going North would too adversely affect the 27th Ave area. In fact, many land owners could potentially receive substantially more for their property if needed for the project, than it would presently bring as is. And, on top of that the truckers and passenger vehicle operators would certainly opt for a nominal TOLL FEE with the Digital Toll Readers, as opposed to all the traffic light intersections between the beach, I-10 and beyond.
Also, who would argue that I-110 from I-10 to the Beach in Biloxi has provided many more negative than positive benefits??

Anonymous said...

i give up. as i look at the 150ft cranes building 100ft storage bins at the port, that will sit empty, from my house on hwy 90, i realize that you do not care a wit about the beauty of this area that attracts tourists. as a conservative republican, it pains me to watch as the crony capitalists will turn this state against the republican party, with the lies about how this will benefit the most people.

James Johnson said...

Excuse me...You or your family chose to buy or build a home overlooking an Industrial Site. The main purpose and value of a port is for import and export of food, goods and material. The more traffic through our main port not only provides jobs for additional Longshoremen, Truck Drivers, Security, etc...but the multiplier affect of commercial activity at The Port of Gulfport provides jobs and creates a great amount of commercial and entrepreneurial activity within Mississippi, and from the Gulf of Mexico to The Great Lakes and the Corn Belt of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and points in between. Furthermore, outlets and inlets to the oceans of the world provide a state and her people an opportunity to participate in International Commerce. Most landlocked states long for the opportunities Mississippi is blessed with because of its ports. We must not forget business and industry provides jobs, produces goods and services, pays taxes and lifts the standards of living of a nations people. Governments Only acquire money through borrowing, fees, taxes, and an occasional lawsuit judgement. The future of America is tied to getting our jobs back from overseas and producing, selling, shipping and exporting our food and goods and materials.
BTW...I am a pro-growth, Ronald Reagan, Conservative Republican. I simply choose to disagree with some of your reasoning.

Anonymous said...

@10:33 AM the Economic Development Wizard Haley Barbour initially claimed his Port of the Future boondoggle was going to create 6000 jobs.

Anonymous said...

i rebuilt my home after katrina not overlooking the "industrial site" but in east gulfport. i can still see the "beautiful" port and so can anyone on beach blvd. nobody wants a home in west gulfport anymore because of this. all the other crap is the same stuff we've been hearing for almost 10 years about this port. the fact is, this will not produce all the jobs promised with the modern equipment used nowadays.but it will make gulfport more of an industrial site.

Anonymous said...

Hwy 49 south is awful, probably the worst stretch of road in the state. MDOT needs to get off it's ass and do something. A toll road would pay for itself and industry would embrace it, all we have to do is break up all the mamma an nems' farms along the way.

Kingfish said...

Leave my Shady Acres alone.

Anonymous said...

"i realize that you do not care a wit about the beauty of this area that attracts tourists. "

Oh, please. 15 years ago I took my kids to Biloxi. They waded into the water and my son (then about 3) emerged with his skin lobster red after about 10 minutes in the Gulf there. We spent an hour looking for a pharmacy so we could get a steroid cream, antihistamine and another agent. The water was cloudy and full of trash and obviously chemicals. We have never returned to the Mississippi beaches although they are beautiful as you drive by on your way to clean beaches in Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

As long as the water is filthy tourism is not a viable option for a beach town. The best shot for high-paying jobs there is through the port.

Anonymous said...

The Coast of MS was ruined with those ugly manmade beaches anyway. They should have left it as marsh, like it's supposed to be. Anyone with a dollar to spend is going to drive past the diseased waters of Mississippi. We are better off to get high paying jobs via the port than to become anymore of the ghetto tourist destination that we already are.

Victor Fleitas said...

Here's a news blurb which shows there's some hope the ideas discussed here may reach the individuals entrusted with making progress happen:

It's a very small, but positive step forward.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS