Transportation - Ports
Surrounded by three navigable waterways, Mississippi offers a unique transportation advantage. With the Mississippi River to the west, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, the nearly 800 miles of commercially navigable waterways provide economical and efficient access to national and international markets.
Two deepwater ports are located on the Gulf of Mexico providing Mississippi an outlet to worldwide commerce. Pascagoula, the largest industrial tonnage port in the state, provides a 38-foot channel depth for ships calling at the 3,100,000 bushel grain elevator or loading at one of the nation's largest and most modern refineries. In addition, general cargo transit warehouses and a freezer warehouse are available. CSX Railroad provides rail service at each of the port's facilities.
The Mississippi State Port at Gulfport, a state-owned port, has a 36-foot channel depth for ships calling at the freezer warehouse or transit warehouses. Gulfport has the nation's largest banana/tropical fruit handling facilities. Two container cranes are available for handling container or bulk shipments. A 30-acre container yard provides storage for the scheduled container ships sailing to Europe and Central and South America. Foreign Trade Zone #92 is located on the dock providing distribution service to major importers. KCS Railroad provides service at the port.
In Hancock County, there’s the 3,600 acre Port Bienville Industrial Park near the mouth of the Pearl River that can accommodate barges and shallow draft ships with its 12-foot channel depth. Hancock County Development Commission owns and operates 15 miles of short line rail serving industry within the industrial park at the port. This short line rail connects to CSX’s Class I railroad that runs east to west.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, stretching from Florida to Texas, is the sheltered water barge route along the state's southern border, with barge facilities available at Pascagoula, Moss Point, Biloxi, Gulfport, and Port Bienville. The major Mississippi River ports in Natchez, Vicksburg, Greenville and Rosedale are each equipped with cranes, transit sheds for general or containerized cargo, and truck and rail facilities. Smaller ports are located at Yazoo City and Greenwood on the Yazoo River, which enters into the Mississippi River at Vicksburg.
The Tennessee-Tombigbee Inland Waterway, a 234-mile system of canals and locks along the Tombigbee River in northeast Mississippi, provides a shorter, more convenient route from Mid-America to the Gulf of Mexico. Ports at Yellow Creek and Columbus are equipped with cranes, transit sheds, and truck and rail facilities.
Port of Pascagoula
Port of Pascagoula is a full-service deep water port with modern facilities for handling cargo. Located in Jackson County, Mississippi on the northern Gulf of Mexico, the Port of Pascagoula has two harbors, the Pascagoula River Harbor (West) and the Bayou Casotte Harbor (East). The Port’s two harbors are a combination of public and private terminals moving in excess of 35 million tons of cargo through the channels annually. The Port of Pascagoula is the largest seaport in the state of Mississippi, operating public and private terminals and is a major U.S. port consistently ranking as a top 20 port in the nation for foreign cargo volume. The Port of Pascagoula is centrally located on the Gulf of Mexico with convenient and efficient transportation outlets. Its proximity to deep water shipping lanes requires an average pilotage time of two hours. Public terminals in the West Harbor and East Harbor are geared to accommodate the efficient handling of cargo. Port’s inbound cargo includes forest products, crude oil, phosphate rock, chemicals, aggregate and its outbound cargo consists of forest products, paper products, frozen poultry, petroleum products, fertilizer, chemicals, and project cargo.
Port Bienville Industrial Park
Hancock County also owns and operates Port Bienville Industrial Park, a 3,600 acre park, that has multiple berths on its 12 foot draft industrial canal that connects with the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico. Port Bienville Railroad is approximately 15 miles of track within the port that ultimately connects to CSX’s Class I railroad.