Today, Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. (ESG) celebrated the grand opening of its Port St. Joe, Fla., facility (PSJ).

The new 40-acre PSJ site increased the Panama City, Fla.-based company’s operational capabilities. The site encompasses 1,000' of deepwater bulkhead with unrestricted access to the Gulf of Mexico test and sea trials grounds. The new facility is dedicated to final outfitting and testing of commercial newbuilds as well as topside repairs.

ESG recently completed a $6 million infrastructure improvement project at the Port St. Joe facility to allow vessel outfitting to begin and has embarked on a $50 million, 15,000-ton drydock project to provide full vessel sustainment services. The drydock has been specifically designed to service both government and commercial ships and can haul large deep-draft vessels.

“We are proud to commission our third facility with the strong support from the local community and our dedicated workforce,” Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding, said during the grand opening ceremonies. “This is an exciting chapter in our long history of quality shipbuilding as we add new capacity and capabilities to offer our customers and build a longstanding presence in Gulf County.”

“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 U.S. Congressman Neal Dunn, R-Fla. “This project will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and will give more Gulf County residents the chance to achieve the American Dream. Thank you to everyone who worked to make this opportunity possible.”

With three facilities along the Gulf Coast on Florida’s panhandle, Eastern is one of the only shipbuilders in the U.S. that can perform commercial shipbuilding competitively while simultaneously managing a large government program, shipyard officials said.

The 40-acre Nelson Street facility and operational headquarters in Panama City is dedicated to the Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter project to ensure continuous and uninterrupted construction of those critical national security assets. ESG is well underway on a $45 million facility optimization project at the Nelson Street Facility that is fully permitted and funded.

The 300-acre Allanton facility, where ESG operates the commercial side of the business, has over 6,000' of water frontage leading into St. Andrew’s Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. ESG is currently the largest private employer in Bay County and has approximately 1,300 employees and contract workers across its three main shipbuilding facilities. 

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