AAPA Seaports Advisory

Maritime Economic Development: Gulfport

Print Print this Article | Send to Colleague

Edison Chouest Offshore Locating Shipbuilding Operations, TopShip, LLC, in Gulfport, Miss.

Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO), an offshore energy service and supply company, will be locating shipbuilding operations at the Port of Gulfport in Mississippi.

The project represents a $68 million corporate investment and will create 1,000 full-time jobs.

Edison Chouest Offshore’s Gulfport operations, TopShip, LLC, will be sited at the port authority’s new inland port.  The former Huntington Ingalls Composite Facility was acquired by the port authority in March 2015.

"Edison Chouest Offshore has been successfully producing quality vessels for decades, and through its business affiliate TopShip, 1,000 Mississippians on the Gulf Coast will have the opportunity to continue that tradition of quality," said Gov. Phil Bryant. "Mississippi has a proven track record in the shipbuilding industry, and we are proud to welcome TopShip to the state. The state of Mississippi looks forward to many years partnership with this great company."

On February 5, the Mississippi Legislature voted on an incentive package in support of the project that includes $11 million through the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority - $10 million in discretionary grants and $1 million for workforce training. The port authority, through its restoration budget, is providing $25 million in Katrina-CDBG funds for infrastructure improvements. The city of Gulfport and Harrison County are providing personal property tax abatements.

"The governor’s change in vision has allowed the Port of Gulfport flexibility to further expand and acquire the Huntington Ingalls facility," said Port Authority Executive Director Jonathan Daniels. "This has allowed MDA [Mississippi Development Authority] to put together an incentive package, bringing TopShip, LLC to the port and creating a significant number of jobs for coastal residents."

Mr. Daniels further said that TopShip’s operations would "link seamlessly with our modernized, deep-water draft facility, creating expanded cargo opportunities and leading to additional job creation."

Founded in 1960 in Galliano (LA), as Edison Chouest Boat Rental, ECO companies now operate a fleet of more than 250 vessels ranging in length from 87 to more than 360 feet.

"We are indeed excited about the opportunities to grow TopShip in a business-friendly state, one where we can reach out into the community to recruit various skill sets, developing a quality workforce that will allow TopShip not only to compete locally, but also globally," said ECO President and CEO Gary Chouest. "With the help of the state of Mississippi, we will modify our TopShip facility to become one of the safest and most efficient shipyards in the nation, building Chouest pride for our employees. The strategic location of TopShip will allow us to take advantage of the deepwater Port of Gulfport and their future expansion plans."

Back to AAPA Seaports Advisory

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn