First Signs of Activity Stir at Former Avondale Shipyard Site
NEW ORLEANS – In early October of 2018, Avondale Marine LLC officially purchased the Avondale Shipyard from Huntington Ingalls Industries. The two organizations celebrated the major milestone event, onsite, with the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), Avondale Marine LLC, and Governor John Bel Edwards, along with other elected officials.
The shipyard is expected to generate economic activity and job growth within the region.
Early signs of what’s to come were visible on Monday, Jan. 7, when Avondale Marine, LLC welcomed its first vessel – M/V Ning Tai Hi, which is bound for Santa Marta, Colombia. Since the Avondale Marine site is not yet open for cargo operations, it will act as a temporary docking facility before the Hong Kong-based vessel shifts to its cargo dock.
“Since the Avondale Shipyard closing was announced in 2010, JEDCO has made it a priority to bring this iconic site back into commerce,” said Jerry Bologna, JEDCO president and CEO. “It is encouraging to see activity at the former shipyard after it sat idle for many years. We know there is much more to come for this regional asset, and this vessel’s stopover is just the very beginning.”
The shipyard, which was founded in 1938 as Avondale Marine Ways, was at one time the largest private employer in Louisiana, boasting nearly 26,000 workers. It closed in 2010.
According to an October press release from JEDCO, Avondale Marine will redevelop the 254-acre facility as a world-scale logistics hub, by revitalizing its crane, dock and terminal assets along nearly 8000 feet of Mississippi River frontage. The shipyard site, which is within one mile of six Class I rail carriers, will connect global waterborne commerce with manufacturing, fabrication and distribution facilities onshore, and as a result, provide new opportunities for large-scale manufacturers to find a space in the Louisiana market.
By Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur, Biz New Orleans associate news editor