IMTT Doubles Down
A fixture in the bulk liquid storage industry for 80 years, IMTT re-established its commitment to the region with its decision to stay and expand headquarters.
From humble beginnings as a single storage-tank entity based in Avondale (a tank that remains active to this day), International-Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT) has blossomed into an industry force when it comes to storage and handling of bulk liquid projects.
“At a really high level, we’re like a self-storage locker where we handle the movement of products,” IMTT Chief Financial Officer Matthew Rosenbloom says. “We don’t own any of the products inside. Product is brought in via marine, rail or truckline, and we offload it from whatever vessel it’s on, put it in our tanks, and then take it out of our tanks and export it.”
Founded in 1939 by James J. Coleman Sr., IMTT now has 19 total terminals throughout North America. Roughly half of all stored liquid is some form of refined petroleum—gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel—while the rest is a combination of chemicals, food-grade products—soybean oil, canola oil, etc.—and renewable fuels. Today, IMTT is capable of holding 48 million barrels worth of liquid at its 19 terminals spread throughout North America—including four here in Louisiana (the original Avondale site, St. Rose, Geismar and Gretna).
In recent years, ownership of IMTT changed hands after the Coleman Family sold the company to Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. From there, MIC acquired Epic Midstream in 2017—a transaction that added 7 more terminals to IMTT. Then, last December, Riverstone Holdings LLC bought IMTT from MIC for $2.685 billion, according to the press release announcing the deal.
In the midst of so much change, so much growth and so much success, the company values at IMTT have always remained the same.
“Even though we’ve grown into a large business, we’ve been able to maintain that familial feel to the organization,” Rosenbloom says. “So while it’s obviously changed over the years, that sense of community and family within this business never left.”
IMTT’s dedication to the Greater New Orleans region was put to the test following the Riverstone purchase. Prior to the sale, IMTT’s back-office functions—things like accounting, human resources, IT —were done through a shared-services company that handled those tasks for multiple Midstream holdings. The acquisition meant IMTT would have to not only fill those positions, but also find space to accommodate an expanding team. Solving that logistical puzzle brought forth a potential counter-solution: Would it be easier to relocate IMTT’s headquarters out of New Orleans?
“We looked at a number of factors—some of our customers are in Houston, a lot of our vendors are also there,” Rosenbloom says. “So, it was a consideration.”
Ultimately, though, the interpersonal and economic benefits of staying in Greater New Orleans outweighed what other areas might offer.
“In the end, it came down to a couple things,” says Rosenbloom. “So much of our business is here in Louisiana—40 percent. Being here allows us to attend to that business with a drive. We can have meetings and be here when customers visit the terminals. That was a big factor. Another factor is the employees we have here in our corporate office are really quality talent, and there was a risk in losing some of that talent if they didn’t want to relocate.”
Rosenbloom says that after presenting those factors to the CEO and Board, they made the decision to stay and expand in New Orleans.
To meet the growing needs of the 40 to 50 new employees who will be working at IMTT’s headquarters, the company consulted with Christina Donahue, the Senior Property Manager at Hertz Investment, about reorganizing and expanding headquarters at 400 Poydras Tower. In mid-March 2021, Louisiana Gov. John Edwards was on hand in New Orleans when IMTT officially announced the $1.3 million headquarters expansion.
Upon project completion, IMTT will occupy the 29th and 30th floors of the building, and will see its total HQ workforce nearly double. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) predicts IMTT’s decision to advance operations in New Orleans will lead to approximately 50 indirect jobs as well. Currently, IMTT employs 220 workers and has an annual payroll of $30 million.
“There was a conscious decision to say, ‘Do we want to double down on our ties to New Orleans, or do we want to re-establish elsewhere?’” Rosenbloom says. “The only answer, in the end, was to stay in New Orleans and expand our footprint within our headquarters.”