Panama City, Fla., headquartered Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. (ESG) yesterday hosted the grand opening of its Port St. Joe, Fla., (PSJ) facility. The new facility adds an additional 40-acre site to the company’s operational capabilities. It encompasses 1,000 feet of deepwater bulkhead with unrestricted access to the Gulf of Mexico test and trials grounds. The new facility is dedicated to final outfitting and testing of commercial new construction vessels and to topside repairs.
“We are proud to commission our third facility with the strong support from the local community and our dedicated workforce,” said Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group. “This is an exciting chapter in our long history of quality shipbuilding as we add new capacity and capabilities to offer our customers and build a longstanding presence in Gulf County.”
Hundreds gathered from across the Florida panhandle to celebrate the economic development event and see the new Ollis-class Staten Island Ferries constructed by ESG. The occasion was marked by remarks from Congressman Neal Dunn, local dignitaries, and a ribbon cutting.
“This is an exciting day for Gulf County and the rest of Florida’s Second Congressional District,” said Dunn. “This town was ravaged by Hurricane Michael just three short years ago affecting the livelihoods of everyone in the area. This project will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and will give more Gulf County residents the chance to achieve the American Dream. Thank you to everyone who worked to make this opportunity possible.”
ESG recently completed a $6 million infrastructure improvement project at the Port St. Joe Facility to allow vessel outfitting activities to begin. It has also embarked on a $50 million 15,000 ton dry dock project. The dry dock has been specifically designed to be able to service both government and commercial ships and can haul large deep draft vessels.
The PSJ Facility expands ESG’s labor pool into a new region and will not be competing with ESG’s other shipyards for skilled trades.
With three facilities along the Gulf Coast on Florida’s Panhandle, Eastern is one of the only shipbuilders in the United States that can perform commercial shipbuilding competitively while simultaneously managing a large government program.
The 40-acre Nelson Street Facility and operational headquarters in Panama City is dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter project to ensure continuous and uninterrupted construction of those critical national security assets.
ESG is well underway on a $45 million facility optimization project at the Nelson Street Facility that is fully permitted and funded.
The 300-acre Allanton Facility, where ESG operates the commercial side of the business, has over 6,000 feet of water frontage leading into St. Andrew’s Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. ESG is currently the largest private employer in Bay County, Fla., and has approximately 1,300 employees and contract workers at its three main shipbuilding facilities.