Port of Gulfport Signs Letter of Intent with Yilport Holding for Future Port Expansion and Exclusive Lease Agreement
(Gulfport, Miss.) – The Mississippi State Port Authority and Yilport Holding A.S., a subsidiary of Yildirim Group of Companies, 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, Mississippi.
With the Port of Gulfport nearing completion of the USD 570 million restoration project, Yilport Holding would commit to investing in additional facility and equipment upgrades. The company’s interests are well diversified and could bring new vision and targeted investments to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This would be Yilport’s first terminal investment in North America. However, Yildirim Holding currently operates a ferroalloys production and refining facility in Butler, Pennsylvania, where it is acclaimed for its high-quality product yield and toll conversion technology. Expanding to Gulfport would only further increase their capabilities in North America.
“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,” said Port Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Daniels. “Our central location will allow Yilport to further expand international trade lanes from Gulfport and increase cargo throughput.”
Yilport aims to make investments in world-class, multipurpose facilities with a wide range of business ventures including Yildirim’s operations in 49 countries located on four continents. Yildirim Holding specializes in metals and mining, energy production, port management and logistics, fertilizer and chemical production, international trade, industrial construction, real estate development, and shipbuilding. Also, a unique component of Yildirim’s investment portfolio is their 24 percent stake in CMA CGM Group, which is the third largest container shipping company in the world.
“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 by applying state-of-the-art port technologies at Gulfport in order to make the port the most competitive port in that region,” said the Chairman of Yilport Holding, Mr. Robert Yuksel Yildirim and added that, “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 containerized liquid and bulk products out of the US Gulf Coast region for small and medium-sized shippers.”
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 program 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.
The Port of Gulfport would not be the first public-private investment for Yilport. In August 2016, the company committed to investing USD 750 million for the development and modernization of the Puerto Bolivar port in Machala, Ecuador, which is one of the largest shipment points for fruits and seafood. Upon completion of five investment phases, the port is set to become the largest and the most advanced container terminal on the Pacific Coast of Latin America, with an annual container handling capacity reaching 2.5 million TEU.