Harrison County

Port of Gulfport suing West Pier contractor for $5.8 million

In this file photo, David Palmer and Michael Parker paint parking space stripes at the state port at Gulfport, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Work is continuing on the port’s West Pier restoration and expansion undertaken after Hurricane Katrina.
In this file photo, David Palmer and Michael Parker paint parking space stripes at the state port at Gulfport, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Work is continuing on the port’s West Pier restoration and expansion undertaken after Hurricane Katrina. Sun Herald File

The state port is suing one of its contractors for $5.8 million, plus punitive damages, over a major construction contract that is now about one year and six months behind schedule.

The Port of Gulfport claims in a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court that Southern Industrial Contractors of Rayville, Louisiana, breached its $50 million contract to build terminals and transit warehouses for port tenants on the West Pier.

The West Pier is being renovated and expanded with $570 million the federal government provided to spur economic development after Hurricane Katrina.

The project was supposed to be finished in March 2016, but the work is “extensively incomplete,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also says SIC breached the contract because the company failed to establish a work schedule, document delays, provide enough workers and resources for the job, promptly pay subcontractors and others and damaged port property.

The port terminated SIC’s contract a year ago. SIC’s bonding company, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, is responsible for ensuring that the job is finished.

SIC has a lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court against the Mississippi Development Authority, which oversees the port, and others over the construction contract.

SIC’s lawsuit seeks $50 million in damages and contends MDA, and port engineering and construction firms, were negligent in administration and oversight of the construction contract.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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