Chouest Gulfport venture Topship gets $11 million incentive

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 — The Mississippi House today passed a $275 million incentive bill that Speaker Philip Gunn tweeted was the "biggest job creation bill in MS history."

Most of the money is going to Continental Tire which is to set up a manufacturing plant in the state, but $11 million is going to an Edison Chouest Offshore affiliated company, TopShip LLC, to expand its footprint in the Port of Gulfport.

Back in March last year, the Board of Commissioners for the Mississippi State Port Authority approved the purchase of the Ingalls Shipbuilding Gulfport Composite Center of Excellence, saying it was the "realization of a long-range vision for an inland port as an extension of the Port of Gulfport."

It also said that it was executing a lease agreement with Topship LLC for part of the facility.

"We are excited to establish our new business affiliate, Topship, LLC, in the state of Mississippi. Development of the Port's inland port facility, and our long term lease of the property, provides a unique opportunity to seamlessly link to the development at the restored Port of Gulfport" said Gary Chouest, CEO Edison Chouest Offshore. "As we have already learned in the operation of our Gulf Ship facility, the Gulfport region will provide us access to a quality workforce. We appreciate the cooperation and support of the Port of Gulfport, state and local officials who are providing a business friendly environment to grow our company."

Under the incentive deal passed by the Mississippi House, the state will bond $11 million for construction and infrastructure and provide an option for the company to acquire the facility, while Topship LLC will put in $68 million in private investment and create1,000 jobs, paying an average $40,000 a year, over five years.

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