Mississippi State Port Authority and Yilport Holding have executed a letter of intent (LoI) to allow for due diligence and negotiations regarding the potential location of the global terminal operator at the Port of Gulfport.
With the Port of Gulfport nearing completion of the US$570m restoration project, Yilport would commit to investing in additional facility and equipment upgrades.
This would be the Turkish operator’s first terminal investment in North America although its parent company Yildirim Holding currently operates a ferroalloys production and refining facility in Butler, Pennsylvania.
Chairman of Yilport Holding, Robert Yuksel Yildirim, stated: “Since we believe that we have very good know-how and the expertise in multi-purpose port operations globally and we see lack of investments in many US ports, we are committed to Gulfport Port Authority to upgrade, improve terminal productivity and services.
He added: “We see a great potential to feed volume particularly refrigerated goods to Gulfport from Yilport terminals in Ecuador and Peru and Latin America to reach out Midwest USA.
“There is further potential in leveraging the company’s trading subsidiary to handle containerised liquid and bulk products out of the US Gulf Coast region for small and medium-sized shippers.”
Port executive director and CEO Jonathan Daniels said: “As we continue discussions with Yilport, the Port of Gulfport has a unique opportunity to evaluate a private-public partnership (PPP) that could lead to a significant investment in additional infrastructure and provide both parties with increased global coverage.
“Our central location will allow Yilport to further expand international trade lanes from Gulfport and increase cargo throughput.”
In November 2017, the Army Corps of Engineers released the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Port of Gulfport Expansion Project, which paves the way for a 282-acre dredge and fill programme for further expansion of the port’s operations.
With the permit in-hand, the port is now evaluating options to complete the dredge and fill project.
Yilport already has experience of a PPP in Ecuador’s Puerto Bolivar where it committed to investing US$750m in 2016.