Barbour envisions South Mississippi as a major hub

Gov. Haley Barbour supports creating a large transportation hub at Palmer’s Crossing to handle increased container traffic from a $1 billion expansion of the Port of Gulfport.

Barbour said the proposed rail yard near Hattiesburg would help the massive State Port at Gulfport project, which Barbour said is unprecedented for the state.

“My grandchildren will look back, and this will be the largest economic development project in the history of Mississippi, and whatever is second won’t be close.” Barbour said.

Panama to Palmer’s

Barbour said the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal, which could be complete sometime around 2014, will create many new opportunities for the port, which could handle a large portion of container traffic, much of which is currently sent to the West Coast, and then shipped by rail to the rest of the country. Barbour said the West Coast ports were often congested, and before the recession ships sometimes had to wait several days to get a berth. He said that doesn’t happen as much during the recession, but it should pick up again as the economy improves.

Barbour supports creating a large intermodal transportation yard at Palmer’s Crossing, where the container cargo that comes into ports at Gulfport, Mobile and New Orleans would be sorted and then shipped elsewhere.

Sun Herald