GULFPORT, Miss. — Huntington Ingalls Industries says it will close its Gulfport shipyard by May 2014.

In an announcement Wednesday morning, the Newport News, Va.-based company says the shutdown is necessary because of a reduction in work for the Navy’s Zumwalt-class destroyers.

Company President and CEO Mike Petters says the Navy has switched to steel for use in future ships.

The decision, he says, means more limited demand for products produced by the company’s Gulfport Composite Center of Excellence.

Petters says work now under way in Gulfport is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

The company says some of the 427 workers at the Gulfport yard may be able to transfer to other Huntington Ingalls yards.

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