Virginia-based T. Parker Host Changes Name, Reopens Louisiana Shipyard as Avondale Global Gateway – The Virginian-Pilot

AVONDALE, Louisiana — The former Avondale Shipyards, where thousands of people once worked building warships for the United States Navy, has now been revived as a new manufacturing and transshipment center called the Avondale Global Gateway.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards joined officials with T. Parker Host, the Virginia-based terminal operator that bought the site for $60 million in 2018, to help rename the shipyard closed Friday for its new purpose.

Edwards said Louisiana has strategic advantages, including the Mississippi River, and is seizing new opportunities, WVUE-TV reported.

“The iron is hot and I’m excited and we’re hitting and not just here at Avondale Marine, but the work we do in ports all over Louisiana,” he added.

Adam Anderson, president and CEO of T. Parker Host, said the port’s 300 employees now handle about 100 different commodities for 50 customers and welcome two or three ships each week, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. . But he said T. Parker Host still hasn’t finalized an agreement with one of the major manufacturing customers he is targeting as an “early tenant” that would attract related businesses.

“In October 2018, we took the title from this idle shipyard, it was covered in weeds, abandoned buildings and derelict workspaces,” Anderson said. “Our vision was and remains to transform this shipyard into a multi-modal logistics hub and that means having ships, wagons, barges, using the unique confluence of land, river, road and rail.”

Local politicians hope the ‘waterfront industrial park’, with access to transportation links via river barge, rail, nearby New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport and interstate highways, will meet the projections. economic development groups and will attract $1 billion in private sector investment over the next five years, as well as thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions in new tax revenue.

“I think this area is well positioned to take off in the next couple of years,” said Deano Bonano, a parish council member for Jefferson, in whose district Avondale is located. “I am very happy with their progress.

Anderson’s plan to turn the site into a logistics hub for the oil and gas industry was initially thwarted by record high waters that blocked Mississippi River commerce for most of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly followed, and then Hurricane Ida hit the area. Last year.

“When we bought Avondale, our private equity partner asked us, ‘What’s the worst that can happen’?” Anderson said. “I said, ‘I don’t know, sometimes the river overflows and you might lose a few weeks of operations. There could be a war or a global pandemic. And, oh yeah, the third thing is you could have a huge hurricane. So, needless to say, we really took it on the chin.

Ida caused damage worth approximately $15 million, which was only partially covered by insurance.

Additionally, the company faced a host of issues to rehabilitate the site, including mitigating asbestos, mercury from old thermostats, chemicals above and below ground, and radiation. before finally getting the green light from state and federal environmental protection agencies. August.

Anderson said it was also difficult to convince potential customers and other interested parties that Avondale might be viable.

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“Something that we underestimated proves the facility could actually work,” he said. “There was a fair amount of skepticism there.”

As of now, T. Parker Host, which has invested about $150 million in the site, hoped to have most of its goal of six “prime tenants” in place and occupy part of the 1.5 million square feet of construction space that the facility must provide. Instead, he is still working to finalize terms for his first: TOP Vegetable Oils, part of the US operations of a Colombian palm oil trading company, the newspaper said.

Negotiations on this agreement have been going on for about a year.

Avondale is in the midst of negotiations for a second anchor tenant — in the “construction industry” — and hopes to finalize the terms of that deal early next year, Anderson said.

With the addition of new tenants, Avondale Global Gateway is expected to ultimately create 2,300 direct jobs.

Anderson said he had “invested all his money in the world” into the project and was determined to see it succeed as a world-class manufacturing and logistics center.

“I want everyone to know that we are now officially open for business.” he said.

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