Eastern Shipbuilding Opens New Shipyard in Port St. Joe
On Thursday, Eastern Shipbuilding Group held a grand opening ceremony for its new dockside facility at Port St. Joe, a 40-acre site with 1,000 feet of deepwater bulkhead and unrestricted access to the Gulf of Mexico for sea trials. The new facility is dedicated to final outfitting and testing of ESG's commercial newbuilds, as well as topside repair work.
The site also expands ESG’s labor pool draw into a new region, without competing with its other shipyards for skilled trades - an important consideration in a competitive Gulf Coast hiring market. ESG is the largest private employer in Bay County, with about 1,300 employees and contract workers across its three main shipbuilding facilities
"We are proud to commission our third facility with the strong support from the local community and our dedicated workforce," said Joey D’Isernia, President of Eastern Shipbuilding Group. "This is an exciting chapter in our long history of quality shipbuilding as we add new capacity and capabilities."
ESG recently completed a $6 million infrastructure improvement project at the Port St. Joe Facility to allow for vessel outfitting, and it has launched a $50 million project to build a 15,000 ton drydock for vessel sustainment services. This drydock has been designed to service both government and commercial ships, and it will be able to haul out large deep draft vessels.
"This is an exciting day for Gulf County and the rest of Florida’s Second Congressional District. This town was ravaged by Hurricane Michael just three short years ago affecting the livelihoods of everyone in the area," said Congressman Neal Dunn in a keynote address. "This project will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and will give more Gulf County residents the chance to achieve the American dream."
Eastern says that its new site in Port St. Joe will help it to sustain its status as one of the few shipbuilders in America that can handle a large government program alongside a regular flow of commercial projects. Its main Nelson Street Facility is dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Cutter series, which is the largest procurement program in the service's history and its highest acquisition priority. ESG is spending $45 million to optimize the Nelson Street yard to meet the OPC program's needs.