Baton Rouge: Governor Bobby Jindal and Frank Vingerhoets, Katoen Natie’s president of petrochemicals in North America, announced Katoen Natie USA will invest $150 million to build a plastics storage, custom packaging and distribution facility for producers of petrochemical products in Baton Rouge. The logistics platform will create 210 new direct jobs. LED estimates the project will also result in 516 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 700 new permanent jobs. Another 150 construction jobs will be created during the building phase.
Gov. Jindal said, “Katoen Natie’s decision to build in Louisiana is part of the renaissance that our chemical and energy industries are experiencing today. The company said key factors in their decision to invest in Louisiana included easy access to railroads, as well as our experienced chemical industry workforce. Indeed, today Louisiana is a leader in petrochemical and specialty chemical products because of our strong business climate, infrastructure, natural resources and incomparable workforce.
We’ve experienced this economic growth because we have world-class infrastructure like railways that make Louisiana attractive to companies who want to invest and create jobs. We're blessed to be right on the banks of the Mississippi River, a resource that's helped Louisianians transport chemical and energy products for generations. We are also surrounded by some of the greatest petrochemical, industrial and natural resources in the nation. And Louisiana’s incomparable workforce is another driving force for our tremendous economic growth and helps keep Louisiana at the forefront of the chemical and energy industries. Their world-class skills help us produce, process, package and deliver vital natural resources and chemical products to markets all over the world. The bottom line is that all of these incredible assets make Louisiana a prime location for economic growth and opportunity.”
The logistics complex – including polymer terminals, warehousing and distribution facilities – will support local petrochemical and specialty chemical producers in the Capital Region. The Katoen Natie facility will offer a variety of processing, handling, storage and value-added services to these producers, and will distribute to both domestic and international customers. Situated on 127 acres on Scenic Highway north of Baton Rouge, the 2 million-square-foot indoor storage complex is being designed with an extensive rail yard by CRA Engineering Group of Baton Rouge.
Katoen Natie’s plans include developing tie-ins to rail assets served by Kansas City Southern Railway and Canadian National Railroad, potentially becoming one of the few facilities of its kind with dual railway access.
“We are excited about the new project that will expand our U.S. and global network,” Vingerhoets said. “This state-of-the-art facility will help absorb the increasing production capacity of our customers, which is in relation to the shale gas growth in the U.S. The cooperation with the local authorities has been great, and their efforts have contributed to our decision to invest in the Baton Rouge area.”
Katoen Natie NV is headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, with U.S. operations headquartered in Houston. The company operates facilities in 28 countries, including six facilities in locations across the United States: Carson, Calif.; Edison, N.J.; Gary, Ind.; Houston and Orange, Texas. Katoen Natie also operates a facility in Port Allen, La., and employs 20 people there who support current petrochemical storage efforts.
The state began working with Katoen Natie on the new project in February 2012. The company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption incentives, as well as the services of LED FastStart® – the top-ranked state workforce development program in the nation.
“BRAC identified Katoen Natie as a potential project for the Baton Rouge area through our lead generation program,” said BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp. “From there, our team worked with LED and the City of Baton Rouge to show the company why the Capital Region was the best place for this business. The addition of Katoen Natie to our region will provide a valuable service to the chemicals and new energy production sector, further strengthening this sector, one of our recently identified target industries.”
The first phase of the project is expected to begin in early 2013, and will include construction of the first 600,000 square feet of storage space, all of the rail lines servicing the facility, half of the available rail yard, all rail tie-ins, and the construction of a 6-acre detention pond. The company expects to complete the first phase by the end of 2013, with hiring for the new facility beginning this summer. Katoen Natie expects to complete the entire facility by 2018.
“The addition of Katoen Natie to Baton Rouge will strength our ability to meet the needs of our existing businesses and help us recruit new ones," Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden said. “We eagerly welcome the company to our city.”