NEW ORLEANS — Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Agrico Sales owner and President Frank Kelly announced the company will build a 56,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to produce conveyor and shiploader systems for the dry bulk shipping industry. Agrico Sales will make a $2 million capital investment and create 25 new direct jobs with an average salary of $40,000 per year, plus benefits. Agrico Sales will retain 35 existing jobs and move its operations from Bridge City, La., in Jefferson Parish to a new site in eastern New Orleans. LED estimates the project will result in 41 indirect jobs, for a total of 66 new jobs in the New Orleans area.
Agrico is one of a few manufacturers globally that produce shiploader systems specifically for the dry bulk shipping industry. As the Panama Canal undergoes a major expansion, with an expected completion in 2015, the demand for larger shiploader systems like those manufactured by Agrico Sales will increase. Agrico shiploaders are based on a design that has been in use at a New Orleans area grain terminal for more than 40 years. The telescopic loaders can extend up to 150 feet from the center of the anchoring tower and can rotate 360 degrees to allow loading on both sides of the dock.
Gov. Jindal said, “This reinvestment in our state by Agrico Sales is a testament to the strong business climate, skilled manufacturing workforce and world-class infrastructure here in Louisiana. Not only is this innovative company developing conveyor belts for ports to adapt to an ever-growing global economy, but it’s also creating great manufacturing jobs for Louisianians right here in New Orleans. Agrico Sales joins a long list of manufacturers who have invested in our state and are helping us lead the South in manufacturing.
Founded in 1987, Agrico Sales is a general construction corporation specializing in the design and construction of turnkey, bulk-material handling and storage facilities. In addition to belt-conveyor and shiploader systems, the company designs and builds blending systems, stockpiling and reclaim systems, railcar and truck loading and unloading systems, and bin and barn storage. Agrico also builds facilities and terminals that feature many of these products.
“Agrico’s equipment sales have taken off in recent years due to an increased demand in dry bulk terminal construction and acceptance of our shiploader design as a good fit for many of these terminals,” Kelly said. “Low-priced natural gas, the Panama Canal expansion and first-class construction sites for port terminals in Louisiana are further fueling demand locally. The new fabrication facility and expanded workforce will allow us to build more equipment in the New Orleans area.“
The new facility will provide significantly more space for Agrico Sales and replace the company’s existing site in Bridge City. The company also operates a temporary facility in the state of Washington and employs an additional 35 workers at locations around the country. Construction of the new facility will begin in July 2014, with an expected completion by the end of the year. Hiring for the new facility will begin in October 2014.
“Agrico Sales’ decision to create an additional 25 new high-wage jobs in New Orleans is the latest show of confidence in our city’s business climate,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “In addition to the 25 new jobs, Agrico Sales will retain 35 jobs and induce an additional 41. Agrico Sales is a local company that adds to the momentum we have seen across the city. We continue to have unmatched coordination and partnership between the city, the state, and local economic development agencies and private businesses.”
LED began working with Agrico Sales in March 2014. To secure the project, the state offered Agrico Sales the customized screening, hiring and training services of LED FastStart® – the nation's top-ranked state workforce development training program. The company is also expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Enterprise Zone programs.
“Greater New Orleans Inc. congratulates Agrico Sales on their expansion in the New Orleans area,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “This decision to invest in a new manufacturing facility underscores that Louisiana’s combination of logistics, business climate and focus on advanced manufacturing make it a top location for industrial projects.”
About Agrico Sales
Agrico Sales has been building bulk handling and storage projects under the Agrico name since 1987. Owner and President Frank Kelly has constructed projects for bulk solids since 1973. Agrico designs and builds ship loaders, barge loaders, belt conveyor systems, blending systems, stockpiling and reclaim systems, railcar and truck loading and unloading systems, and bin and barn storage units. For more information, visit www.Agricosales.com.