Fuji Vegetable Oil Celebrates Grand Opening in Jefferson Parish
AVONDALE, La – From the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission:
JEDCO, in coordination with Jefferson Parish and Louisiana Economic Development, celebrated the grand opening of Fuji Vegetable Oil’s new processing facility in Avondale on Wednesday. The global specialty oil and fat producer broke ground in late 2018 on a $70 million food processing, storage, and distribution complex on property owned by International-Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT) with construction completed in August 2021. The company created 45 direct jobs with an average annual salary of $77,000, plus benefits.
Founded in 1987, Fuji Vegetable Oil is a leader in the production of ingredients for the commercial food industry. Fuji’s fats and oils are used in a variety of industries and can be found in a wide array of products, including desserts, infant formula, frying fats, and soaps.
The company processes palm oil, palm kernel oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil at the Jefferson Parish complex. The oils are received by the IMTT Avondale terminal via vessels from around the globe, primarily from Southeast Asia to Europe. The oil is refined at the new facility and then shipped via railcars and bulk tankers to customers throughout North America.
The project represents the attraction of foreign direct investment to Jefferson Parish, with Fuji Vegetable Oil owned by Fuji Oil Holdings of Japan. The Jefferson Parish complex is the company’s second location in the United States.
“One of Fuji’s core values is ‘work for people’,” said Fuji Vegetable Oil’s President, Andrew Bunger.
“We are excited, not only about the opportunity to expand and strengthen our business in the United States but also, to join the Avondale and Jefferson Parish communities. We pride ourselves on being good neighbors and look forward to building on the successes we’ve had over the past three decades in Savannah.”
In addition to the construction of the processing facility, IMTT installed new pipelines to transport the raw materials to seven storage tanks adjacent to the Fuji facilities. Pipelines have proven to be the safest and most environmentally friendly method of transporting materials. The Fuji plant, along with the IMTT improvements, will bring over $115 million in capital investment to Jefferson Parish.
“IMTT is excited to provide the land, pipelines and tanks for this processing development in Avondale. Fuji is a great partner as it shares our core values and commitment to the communities where we operate. This investment continues our strategy to supplement our legacy terminals business with storage and handling of alternative products including edible oils,” said IMTT Chairman & CEO Carlin Conner.
JEDCO played an important role in the attraction of Fuji Vegetable Oil to Jefferson Parish. The organization coordinated meetings with Jefferson Parish leaders and provided tax incentive guidance. JEDCO also facilitated meetings for the company with Delgado Community College Advanced Manufacturing Center to discuss workforce training opportunities. In addition to those services, Louisiana Economic Development offered Fuji Vegetable Oil a competitive incentive package and access to the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart, the nation’s number one state workforce training program. The company also received a $250,000 award through the state’s Economic Development Award Program, which will be used for infrastructure improvements to the site. Fuji is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and the Industrial Tax Exemption Programs.
“The commissioning of this global company’s plant on the West Bank places our community at a strategic advantage,” said JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna. “The start of operations at the Fuji Vegetable Oil plant generates job creation, foreign direct investment, and a long-term vision for the future of Jefferson Parish. Moreover, their partnership with IMTT showcases how our companies work in tandem to increase production and move products all over the world from right here in Jefferson Parish. We look forward to a continued relationship with Fuji Vegetable Oil as they deepen their roots in our community.”
Fuji Vegetable Oil selected Jefferson Parish due to its skilled workforce, its proximity to new markets, and its strong shipping infrastructure, including access to international waters, which will be vital to the company’s import of raw materials and export of finished products.
“This is an exciting moment for Jefferson Parish,” said Jefferson Parish President, Cynthia Lee Sheng. “We have long touted Jefferson Parish as a destination for business because of our strong workforce, unique assets, accessibility, and pro-business climate. Fuji’s presence and launch of operations in Jefferson Parish reaffirms those claims and creates significant opportunities for our residents while also placing us in a position to attract additional international companies. I am pleased to celebrate the commissioning of this plant in Jefferson Parish. We look forward to a long partnership with the company.”
“Fuji Vegetable Oil ties into many of our targeted industry clusters, such as food and beverage and logistics, in Jefferson Parish,” said District 2 Councilman Deano Bonano. “This international manufacturer created skilled jobs in areas of focus for our community and their expansion plans are set to add additional value as they continue to grow this clean industry in Jefferson Parish. We are proud to support their operations in Jefferson Parish.”
“The opening of the Fuji Vegetable Oil complex speaks to Louisiana’s position as a gateway to increasing globalization, which is clearly having a positive impact on local communities,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “In 2021, international companies announced $7.3 billion of new investment in Louisiana. In fact, we have secured more foreign direct investment per capita than any other state. Fuji’s commitment to Jefferson Parish means new jobs and new contractor and vendor opportunities for West Bank small businesses. Congratulations to JEDCO and all of our partners at the regional and local level who came together to support this project.”
Fuji Vegetable Oil anticipates a planned Phase 2 expansion in the near future as the market for healthy, sustainably produced oils increases. The expansion will double capacity and will create an additional 16-20 permanent jobs. The Jefferson Parish complex currently operates 24 hours/day, 7 days a week.