Business News

Corporate investments pump up Louisiana’s economy.

The industrial boom underway along the lower Mississippi River has been the stuff of news headlines as local communities anticipate job growth and new training needs. But not all of the expected employment is concentrated along the river. Here’s a look at some of the job-generating projects taking shape or being planned across Louisiana by companies based in and outside of the state.

Company comes back to its future
NEW ORLEANS – The return of a longtime local shipping company holds the promise of new jobs and business expansion in the Crescent City as International Shipholding Corp. relocates its corporate headquarters from Mobile, Ala. Founded in New Orleans in 1947, ISC moved to Alabama after Hurricane Katrina but is returning with a new facility that will create about 100 new jobs. The company expects to complete its move by the end of 2015, when it will formally begin operation of its local headquarters. ISC provides brokerage, logistics and other maritime services for a broad array of customers, including the U.S. defense and agriculture departments.
New Orleans also received word recently that Phoenix-based Performance Software Corp. will develop a new software development center in the city. The company’s local focus will be on software for the energy and health care industries, and it expects to generate nearly 60 jobs to handle the work.

CB&I flexes its muscle
BATON ROUGE – The legacy of The Shaw Group Inc. continues to be felt across south Louisiana as CB&I, which acquired Shaw in 2013, recently landed a blockbuster contract, along with a Japanese company, to jointly construct a $6 billion gas liquefaction plant in Hackberry. The plant, owned by Sempra and Cameron LNG LLC, will not only bring 3,000 new jobs on-site, but will potentially create several hundred jobs at CB&I’s Louisiana fabrication facilities, and several hundred more engineering and project management jobs in the company’s Baton Rouge offices. While the project awaits permits and a final investment decision from Sempra, the company says it is on track to begin construction this year with full operation in 2019.

Cyber jobs will have palpable benefits
BoSSIER CITY – Employment growth is on tap in Bossier City as Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corp. has decided to place one of its technology centers in the region’s National Cyber Research Park. CSC will become an anchor tenant of the 3,000-acre research park and is taking 40,000 square feet in the park temporarily while its new, larger facility is being built. The company’s next-generation IT center will rank as one of the largest technology projects in Louisiana history and will generate 800 new direct jobs, according to the Louisiana Economic Development office. Louisiana Tech University and other institutions are expanding their computer science programs to increase the number of graduates qualified for positions such as those the new center will generate.

Former paper mill shines in its new role
MINDEN – A $2.5 million investment by Fibrebond Corp. will bring some 225 jobs to the area as the company expands its precast concrete shelter business at the forest products mill once operated by International Paper and Temple-Inland. The jobs come on top of the company’s 470 existing positions at its Minden headquarters and manufacturing operations. Fibrebond will begin construction of the expanded facility shortly and aims to complete the work by the end of the year, reaching full employment by 2018.

Cool jobs coming to central Louisiana
ALEXANDRIA – Cool Planet, a Denver-based energy startup recently broke ground on a $56 million bio-refinery that will produce gasoline from wood chips and other lumber industry waste and create about 70 new jobs at the Port of Alexandria. The company also plans two other such plants in Louisiana, including one to be built in Natchitoches. Cool Planet will harvest yellow-pine wood waste and forest byproducts to make gasoline at the plants. The work will begin in early 2015 at the Alexandria facility.

Cracker will be an employment powerhouse
LAKE CHARLES – Giant energy and chemical corporation Sasol reported recently that it is nearing a decision on the development of a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker complex. An ethane cracker breaks natural gas into smaller molecules to make ethylene, a major component of plastic. The South African company may invest more than $7 billion in the plant, which also would include a facility to turn natural gas into diesel. Together the facilities could generate some 1,250 jobs with average salaries of $88,000, the company has said. Sasol expects to reach a final decision on the complex this year and meanwhile has partnered with local and state entities on a work force guide to help individuals in southwest Louisiana who are interested in getting a job with the company.

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