Hancock County, Miss., Shipping Company Gets State Honor.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
February 27, 2004
By Reggie Beehner, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 27--HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. -- A stroke of fate brought Capt. David Humphreys and his shipping company, Linea Peninsular Inc., to the area nearly 28 years ago.
Bumped from its port in Georgia in the mid-1970s to make room for a nuclear submarine base, Humphreys' company found a new home along the shallow channels of Hancock County, near Port Bienville Industrial Park.
It's a move that Humphreys credits for having transformed his business and paving the way for its growth.
On Thursday, Humphreys was presented with a proclamation, issued by Gov. Haley Barbour, designating Feb. 26 as Linea Peninsular Day in honor of the company's 20 years of successful service with the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
When the company moved to Hancock County, Humphreys said, the region's shallow shipping channels forced him to use smaller, lighter ships, which he began running more frequently to make up for the reduced cargo load.
In time, the company's weakness became its strength, he said.
"No (other local shipping companies) could offer service four times a week," he said.
"And that helped our business expand. It turned out the shallow port played to our advantage."
In 1984, Humphreys entered into a shipping agreement with Yucatan officials to transport twine used in baling hay several times a week.
Within several years, the relationship with Mexico proved to be a big windfall. The Yucatan soon developed a burgeoning textile trade, and the company reaped the benefits, securing many of the overseas shipping contracts.
"It's been a very niche service," Humphreys said, adding that the shipments to Yucatan have become the company's sole business.
"But it's about all the port can handle."
With its relationship with the Yucatan booming, Linea Peninsular has grown significantly.
It now ranks sixth among U.S. companies shipping to Central America. The company employs about 50 people and another 70 local truck drivers for its door-to-door deliveries.
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(c) 2004, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.