A broad range of projects are advancing at ports of Mississippi and Alabama, from providing better road and rail links to deeper channel access.

Mississippi’s Port of Gulfport is moving ahead with development of a multifaceted strategic plan, while a multidomed wood pellet export terminal is nearing completion at the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and a new temperature-controlled warehouse is opening at Alabama’s Port of Mobile.

Here, on a port-by-port basis, are specifics on some of the latest goings-on at the three major seaports of the Magnolia State and Yellowhammer State:

Military cargos are a key part of the diverse cargo mix at the Mississippi State Port Authority’s Port of Gulfport.
Military cargos are a key part of the diverse cargo mix at the Mississippi State Port Authority’s Port of Gulfport.

Mississippi State Port Authority

With expansion of its West Pier Terminal having been completed in late 2018 under federally backed restoration following 2005 Hurricane Katrina destruction, the Mississippi State Port Authority’s Port of Gulfport is concentrating on sustained growth, including through a new strategic plan. The Mississippi Defense Initiative, housed at the University of Southern Mississippi, has been awarded an 18-month grant for development of the plan, which is to focus on aligning defense-related uses with bolstering of the port’s non-military business.

A $15.7 million U.S. Department of Transportation Port Infrastructure Development Program grant, awarded by the U.S. Maritime Administration in 2020, is helping advance an access project to enhance roadways leading in and out of the port entrance, while state funding announced in January includes $430,000 to be used toward drainage and rail access improvements in the port’s North Harbor area.

In the meantime, construction has begun at the port on the 62,000-square-foot Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise, which is seen as a stimulus for the region’s “Blue Economy” through creation of a maritime technology environment for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Port of Pascagoula’s Bayou Casotte Harbor anticipates build upon its forest products legacy with a wood pellet export facility.
The Port of Pascagoula’s Bayou Casotte Harbor anticipates build upon its forest products legacy with a wood pellet export facility.

Port of Pascagoula

At the Jackson County Port Authority’s Port of Pascagoula, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast just west of the Alabama state line, a $90 million wood pellet export terminal is moving forward on schedule toward mid-2021 completion in Bayou Casotte Harbor. The Enviva Holdings LP facility, featuring a pair of domes with combined storage capacity of 90,000 metric tons, as well as conveyor systems and mobile ship loader installations, is to receive wood pellets from multiple Enviva plants, including one being built in Lucedale, Mississippi.

With a new Mississippi Export Railroad short line rail link and interchange yard having recently been completed with a boost from federal funding, the Port of Pascagoula is now looking to proceed with a $15 million, 0.8-mile rail project to bring full operational connectivity with CSX…

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