DIRECTOR’S LOG

Port Log Fall 2015
Paul G. Aucoin

The soaring interest in Mississippi River-front industrial sites within the Port of South Louisiana district has certainly kept us busy. Within the last 24 months alone, there have been at least eight new heavy industrial project announcements. Companies from far and wide are taking advantage of the nation’s abundant and inexpensive natural gas. Louisiana happens to be at the epicenter of the action. The River Region is slated to secure international manufacturing investors from New Zealand, Japan, China, Russia, Canada and Norway. Others originate closer to home, like Texas, North Carolina  and Delaware.

In early 2013, South Louisiana Methanol, a joint enterprise between Zeep Ltd. of Texas and Todd Corporation of New Zealand, announced a $1.3 billion methanol manufacturing venture, the largest of its kind. Around the same time, commodity management firm Gavilon Agriculture, based out of Iowa and owned by Marubeni Corporation of Japan, announced its $250 million investment. Fast-forward 12 months to when Yuhuang Chemicals of China announced its plans for a $1.85 billion methanol manufacturing complex. Consequently, Air Liquide out of Paris, France, will construct a $170 million facility to provide oxygen for this project. That’s a $3.57 billion gain in St. James Parish alone, not counting the commitments by Syngas Energy and Petroplex International, each at $300 million.

After a two-year deliberation between a site in Iberville Parish and one in St. John the Baptist Parish, EuroChem, Russia’s largest producer of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, selected the latter in April of this year to establish a $1.5 billion fertilizer plant and distribution center. Two months later, Canadian firm First Bauxite Corporation announced its intentions to launch a $200 million proppant manufacturing facility within the Port’s own facility, Globalplex Intermodal Terminal. The total announced investment for St. John the Baptist Parish is $3.93 billion, which includes a $2.2 billion potential Marathon Petroleum expansion.

St. Charles Parish was not left out of this economic development boon. In May of 2014, Delaware-based AM Agrigen Industries disclosed its objective to develop a $1.25 billion plant that will manufacture urea, one of the most broadly used fertilizers in the world. Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime, supplier of dynamic positioning systems, marine automation and control systems, saw the need to establish a local service and training facility, which they intend to launch at an investment of $15 million. Existing facilities Monsanto and Entergy|Little Gypsy have scheduled $1.0 billion expansions each, for a total announced investments in St. Charles Parish of $3.265 billion.

In short, companies, both foreign and domestic, have pledged to invest almost $15 billion in the River Region, which will create, at least, 1,400 jobs for its citizens with the potential for hires to bring home $72,000 a year plus benefits. This activity is a result of the abundance of a key raw material for many of these manufacturers: natural gas. We welcome such substantial economic development for our region and we will work diligently with them to make each one successful. Moreover, we will be persistent in our efforts to continue the influx of investment into the River Region, because the River Region is the Port of South Louisiana.

 

 

 

Categories: Maritime