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Port director confident of meeting jobs requirement

The director of Mississippi’s port authority says the port of Gulfport has created 425 of the 1,300 new jobs required in exchange for $570 million in federal assistance granted after Hurricane Katrina.

Jonathan Daniels discussed the progress Tuesday at a Gulfport Chamber of Commerce meeting. The Sun Herald reports that the federal money has been used since 2008 to restore and expand the port’s West Pier.

The project, previously scheduled to be finished in the first quarter of 2017, is one year behind schedule.

Daniels, who came aboard as director three years ago, after the project was well underway, told the Sun Herald construction delays are to be expected at the century-old port.

The port’s mainstay tenants, he said, have been accommodating about continuing operations during construction.

Under Daniels’ leadership, a number of new tenants have come aboard and the port has expanded into the oil services business. He is confident the port will create all the jobs required, and possibly more.

However, Daniels said, the 250 new jobs expected from the expansion of the Island View Casino report won’t count toward the 1,300 new jobs requirement.

Island View is a port tenant but its planned expansion will be on port property that is not part of the federally funded expansion.

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