Eastern Shipbuilding Group’s new facility will have an economic impact

 BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group officials are trying to improve its chances of landing government contracts. They’re undertaking a $12 million expansion at their Nelson Shipyard in Millville. Right now, Eastern Shipbuilding Group can launch vessels about 400 feet in length from their Nelson Facility launchway. By next summer that will increase […] [[{“value”:”

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group officials are trying to improve its chances of landing government contracts. They’re undertaking a $12 million expansion at their Nelson Shipyard in Millville.

Right now, Eastern Shipbuilding Group can launch vessels about 400 feet in length from their Nelson Facility launchway. By next summer that will increase to over 500 feet.

“We are expanding our bulkheads, so we are adding about a thousand feet of pier space and in shipyards, one of the major metrics as far as capacity is concerned is how many feet of pier space you have because the more pier space you have, the more vessels that you can dock, the more vessels that you can build at once,” Eastern Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Joey D’Isernia said. 

The infrastructure project will make Eastern Shipbuilding Group a top option for government ships. D’Isenria said right now China is outbuilding the United States by a large margin.

“We’ve positioned ourselves really well at a time when there’s an opportunity and a great need for the Navy, as far as expanding the industrial base and here we are so we want to take advantage of that, not just to protect our nation and protect our freedoms and liberties but we’re the only shipyard in Florida that has these capabilities,” D’Isenria said.

“You instantly develop a thousand, 2000 jobs and their high paying jobs and their high skill levels are so education’s and stable workforce,” U.S. Congressman Neal Dunn said. “You bring families and frankly this is vitally important to the free world. We don’t have the ship-building capacity in America that we desperately need so this is nothing but good news for America and our allies.”

In 2016, Eastern won the contract to build the U.S. Coast Guard’s new offshore patrol cutters. Construction on the first four was underway 2-years ago when the Coast Guard gave the rest of the job to another shipbuilder. But those first four cutters are proof that Eastern has the ability to handle almost any government job.

“We have all of the ingredients in place, the machine is well-lubed and it’s running beautifully and so it’s important that we get the right work to put on the back of the OPC contract so that our people remain happily employed, busy,” D’Isenria said

“I’m especially proud of the military presence here and for this asset to be able to make us more competitive in the shipbuilding is something that’s very special and everyone should take great pride in,” Bay County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Patrick Chapin said.

The Nelson Facility will be fully operational during the expansion. The new facilities will be able to withstand storm events. The work should be completed by next summer.

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