Port restoration could bring distribution center to Hattiesburg

By Jeff Daley jdaley@wdam.com

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The port of Gulfport is going through a major restoration process designed to restore facilities destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and make it the second largest port in the country.

Representatives from the port authority met with Forrest County Supervisors Thursday to begin a dialogue that could possibly bring a distribution center to the Hattiesburg area.

The new facility would act as a central hub to receive and ship cargo by rail to the port and throughout the country.

Plans for much needed upgrades to the Kansas City Rail Line between Hattiesburg and the Gulfport Harbor are included in the plans.

"We want to help them get the cargo to Gulfport and out of Gulfport more efficiently and this is something that is a ways out," said David Hogan, President, Forrest County Board of Supervisors. "But hopefully one day we will have a major distribution center located here in Forrest County and help move cargo in and out of Gulfport and create a lot of jobs for people here."

"I think Hattiesburg is a unique location in that you have a variety of rails that intersect here," said Donald Allee, CEO and Executive Director, Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport. "You've got a road system that we think is complimentary at least in the planning stages for what we are building in Gulfport."

If built, the distribution center will be located where the rail line ends in Palmers Crossing.

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