Ports & Terminals

Ports America, Mississippi State Port Authority Enter Into Lease And Operating Agreement

The Mississippi State Port Authority has reached a long-term lease and operating agreement with Ports America for operation and investment in the Port of Gulfport, located in the central Gulf Coast with connections to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Interstate 10.

Ports America, the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the United States, has been a stevedore at the Port of Gulfport since 2006.

Ports America and the Port of Gulfport have been in a due diligence period since September 2022, when both entities signed a letter of intent outlining their interest in working together to grow commerce at the port. As a result of that due diligence, the Mississippi State Port Authority and Ports America signed the lease and operating agreement with a 20-year term and options for two more 10-year terms.

“We’re very excited to build on our existing relationship with Ports America,” said Port of Gulfport CEO and Executive Director Jon Nass. “We have so many strategic advantages here at the Port of Gulfport, and this partnership will develop 38 acres of currently vacant land in Terminal 4, allowing for full utilization of the asset. I look forward to continuing to work with Ports America to drive business and create jobs here on our Gulf Coast.”

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As part of the agreement, Ports America will make a $43 million investment to transform Terminal 4 into a cargo-handling facility. Redevelopment at the terminal will include a new ship-to-shore crane and surface improvements. Port officials expect the infrastructure investment will have a robust downstream economic impact, with new business leading to the addition of longshoreman hours, new jobs and increased throughput for the port. Increased vessel calls  and the demand for more available draft should also bolster the port’s efforts to deepen and widen its access channel.

“Ports America is pleased to strengthen our partnership with the Port of Gulfport and reinforce our contributions to Mississippi’s economic prosperity, where we’ve been proudly operating since the 1960s,” said Matthew Leech, president and CEO of Ports America. “Our investments into Gulfport will allow the port to meet its growing demands for infrastructure development, grow its status as a crucial marine terminal transportation hub that provides high-paying jobs for the state of Mississippi and continue the parties’ longstanding commitment to their respective employees, the [International Longshoremen’s Association] and the community.”

A strategic port for the Gulf Coast region, the Port of Gulfport, which has a 37-foot channel, serves as a key port for Dole, Chiquita, Crowley, Chemours, Ocean Aero, Harvey Gulf and TopShip. For more information about the Port of Gulfport and the Mississippi State Port Authority, visit www.shipmspa.com.

Ports America is a major cargo handler and terminal operator in the Gulf Coast, with operations in Corpus Christi, Freeport, Galveston, Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas; Port Allen, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.; and Gulfport, Miss.