The Divine Gulf Coast
Region helps create the Mississippi Miracle


The transportation opportunities the Mississippi Gulf
Coast provides are a real asset for industry.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast might be called the "gold" coast, the inspiration for the Mississippi Miracle of economic prosperity.

The three-county region (Harrison, Hancock and Jackson) has been credited with being the engine that has driven the state to an economic renaissance over the past decade.

Historically led by the seafood, timber and tourism industries, the Gulf Coast economy today includes everything from chemicals to computers, from apparel to aerospace. Since 1992, more than $3.5 billion in new commercial and industrial development has been made in the Mississippi Coast, and nearly 38,500 jobs have been created. The Gulf Coast is home to more than 12,000 businesses, the second-highest concentration of businesses in the state, and is home to three of Mississippi's top five employers.

Turning the Gulf Coast into the gold coast has been the result of the area's strategic location between New Orleans and Mobile; its well-developed air, land, sea and rail arteries; low business operations costs; and a resort climate that provides an unbeatable quality of life.

Cities along the Gulf Coast have been ranked in Money magazine's Best Places to Live; Forbes' Best Places to Start a Business; Modern Maturity's Best Active Places to Retire; and Builder Magazine's hottest housing markets in the United States. The region boasts an overall cost of living below the national average and is regarded as one of the most affordable urban housing markets in the South.

The Gulf Coast's attributes are what led such companies as DuPont, GE Plastics, Future Pipe, and MGM Grand and Grand Casinos to locate facilities in the region.

Companies such as Wellman Inc., a world leader in the manufacture of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resin and polyester fiber, have found the Gulf Coast appealing for a variety of reasons. "When we looked at all the factors that impact the long-term cost of doing business in a region, that's where the Mississippi Gulf Coast came out on top," said a Wellman official.

The transportation opportunities available on the Mississippi Coast are a big asset, said a GE Plastics spokesperson: "Most of our raw materials come in by barge and go out on to rail cars. That kind of accessibility, plus our proximity to a major supplier in Louisiana, has literally saved us millions of dollars in transportation costs."

One of the world's leading manufacturers of high performance, anti-corrosive pipe systems, chose the area in 2002 specifically for its business-friendly environment, access to skilled labor and superb transportation facilities. The company Future Pipe, which chose Gulfport, is an important addition to an emerging composite materials cluster in the area anchored by Northrop-Grumman's Composite Materials Center of Excellence in Gulfport and the University of Southern Mississippi Polymer Science Center in Hattiesburg.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has that age-old attribute real estate agents extol: location, location, location. The region along the Gulf of Mexico is within a 24-hour drive of three-quarters of the U.S. population and provides easy access to the rest of North America and key markets in Mexico and Central and South America. A well-developed multi-modal transportation system guarantees quick distribution of finished products and delivery of in coming raw materials, whether by land, air, sea or rail.

Nine industrial parks encompassing more than 5,000 acres are located in the region. These multi-modal parks offer not only prime industrial sites on navigable waterways, but also easy accessibility by rail, interstate and air, as well as shipping from the Coast's deepwater ports at Gulfport and Pascagoula. The presence of the Mississippi Coast Foreign Trade Zone, along with numerous designated sub zones, provides further transportation time and cost savings to manufacturers and distributors.

The Gulf Coast's location also helps provide a great quality of life. Known as the Playground of the South for its resort climate, the region has 26 miles of sugar-white beach, along with golf, casino gaming, and that all-important Southern hospitality.

For new and expanding businesses, the area has several active organizations ready to assist:

MS Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Development-representing the six coastal counties of South Mississippi and ready to serve a wide range of needs for corporate prospects or site consultants

alliance@mscoast.org or (228) 865-5878

MS Coast Trade Council-providing one-stop access for companies wishing to ship products to Cuba

trade@mscoast.org or (228) 863-3807

MS Coast Tech Council-serving the growing technology sector, especially in the areas of education, skilled labor, capital and best practices

mctc@mscoast.org or (228) 863-3807

MS Coast Foreign Trade Zone-providing information about the Mississippi Coast FTZ, one of the nation's most successful-over 5,000 acres of industrial park property with sub-zones at several area companies and facilities, including three international airports and two deepwater ports

ftz@mscoast.org or (228) 863-3807

Harrison County also boasts an outstanding, easy to use online database of available industrial and commercial buildings. Check it out at www.mscoast.org