Thanks to companies like Halter Marine, Mississippi continues to uphold its status as a premier shipbuilding state with a skilled workforce and cutting-edge facilities. Having won a $745 million contract with the U.S. Coast Guard for the design and construction of a Polar Security Cutter, Halter Marine is enabling the U.S. to effectively fulfill missions in the world’s polar regions.
Halter Marine Success in Mississippi
Halter Marine, Inc. is a shipbuilding company located in Pascagoula, Mississippi and manufactures marine vessels like ships, barges and tug boats.
Halter Marine has a deep and rich history in the naval and shipbuilding industry. Founded in 1956 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Halter Marine has established a successful legacy as a leader in the design and construction of medium-sized ships in the United States. By 1978, Halter Marine Inc., and the Halter Marine Group were responsible for more than 49 percent of the world’s production of supply boats, crew boats and other vessels.
The company designs and builds a wide variety of ocean-going vessels, such as patrol vessels, oil recovery, oil cargo, ferries, logistic support and survey vessels. Halter Marine also produces a variety of other ships, such as yachts, sports fisherman boats, ocean cable-laying ships and research and oceanographic ships. The company continues to serve public and private clients, ranging from commercial clients to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Halter Marine has taken measures towards safer and more environmentally sustainable practices. For example, the company opened a paint-and- blast facility that allows ship sections to be prepared, blasted and painted in a controlled environment. The design of the building ensures that particles are not released from the facility into the atmosphere, and it incorporates 100 percent LED lighting to help reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Over the years, Halter Marine has demonstrated its continued support and vested interest in the prosperity of communities in southern Mississippi. In October 2020, the company created jobs and training apprenticeships through a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Ten students are enrolled in each of the five disciplines offered in the program, for a total of 50 apprentices.
These jobs and apprenticeships were created out of the necessity for a larger workforce due to a contract with the U.S. Coast Guard the company won in the spring of 2019.
“Because of our contract with the U.S. Coast Guard to build the new Polar Security Cutter, we must double our workforce, and we can’t do it alone,” said Bob Merchant, president and CEO of Halter Marine. “We need this apprenticeship program and the partnership of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The Polar Security Cutter program is making us more sustainable for the future and that of our employees who will have job security for many years.”
The Polar Security Cutter program is a $745 million contract, with the potential to expand to $1.9 billion. The program will implement the design and construction of the Polar Security Cutter, a 460-foot icebreaker to be used in the world’s polar regions. The project represents a $37.5 million corporate investment that is creating 900 jobs.. The vessel will be the first heavy icebreaker that has been constructed for the U.S. Coast Guard in the last four decades.
“This was a very competitive selection process,” said Ron Backzowski, former president and CEO of Halter Marine. “Our design package, the local workforce and facilities in Pascagoula set [VT] Halter Marine apart from our competitors and made this win possible.”
Halter Marine’s growth also will enable the company to perform new commercial repair work for larger ships and oil platforms that require greater size and lifting capacity. Investing in machinery and equipment will continue to differentiate Halter Marine and southern Mississippi from competitors across the country.
Halter Marine plans to make the process of bidding for contracts much more consistent and reproducible. A more dependable operation will continue to establish job security for current employees while simultaneously creating new jobs for south Mississippians.