AVONDALE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards highlighted the groundbreaking for a $70 million processing facility by Fuji Vegetable Oil Inc. in Louisiana, where the company will develop a food processing, storage and distribution complex in Jefferson Parish just west of New Orleans. The project will create 39 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $77,000, plus benefits, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates an additional 48 new indirect jobs will result, for a total of 87 new jobs in the region. At peak building activity, Fuji’s project will generate another 200 construction jobs.
State of Louisiana, Jefferson Parish and Fuji Vegetable Oil leaders celebrated the investment with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the U.S. 90 site near the Mississippi River. The project represents the attraction of foreign direct investment to Jefferson Parish, with Fuji Vegetable Oil owned by Fuji Oil Holdings of Japan.
“Plans for this project on Jefferson Parish’s West Bank preceded our recent announcement that the legacy Avondale Shipyards site nearby has been purchased for renewed industrial development,” Gov. Edwards said. “Both developments are great news for Jefferson Parish, New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. We are attracting investment for a new era of development on the Mississippi River, we are attracting new jobs and income growth, and we continue to reaffirm Louisiana’s position as the No. 1 state in the U.S. for per capita foreign direct investment. These are all great signs that Louisiana’s economy is headed in the right direction.”
Fuji will process palm oil, palm kernel oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil at the Jefferson Parish complex, with an increased demand for palm oil in the U.S. being the primary driver for development of the new processing investment. Palm oil and related oils are key components for a variety of consumer products, such as cooking oil; margarine; ice cream; ready-to-eat meals; liquid detergents, soaps and shampoos; lipstick, waxes and polishes; and industrial lubricants.
“We are very excited about our expansion to Jefferson Parish,” said President Andrew Bunger of Fuji Vegetable Oil. “It is an important step in Fuji’s development in the United States. We are thankful to all the people at the State of Louisiana and Jefferson Parish who have welcomed us to New Orleans. Fuji has many great partners who are making this project possible. We are breaking ground today and look forward to working with all of our new neighbors.”
Founded in 1987, Fuji Vegetable Oil is headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, and is a leader in the production of ingredients for the commercial food industry. Fuji Vegetable Oil is the U.S. arm of parent company Fuji Oil Group, which was established in 1950 and is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.
“This is an exciting moment for the West Bank and specifically the Avondale area,” Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni said. “The Fuji project is one of several major economic development wins for Jefferson Parish this year, a testament to our strong workforce, unique assets, accessibility and ease of doing business. Fuji’s investment in Jefferson Parish continues to support this community as a global destination for business. On behalf of the Parish Council and administration, I am pleased to welcome Fuji Vegetable Oil to Jefferson Parish. We look forward to a long partnership with the company.”
LED began discussions with Fuji Vegetable Oil in August 2016. The company selected Jefferson Parish after studying a number of competitive locations along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast of the U.S. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program for the past nine years. The project will receive $250,000 through the state’s Economic Development Award Program, which will be used for infrastructure improvements at the site. Fuji also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
Additionally, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, or JEDCO, provided support by coordinating meetings with Jefferson Parish leaders and offering tax incentive guidance. JEDCO also offered space at the organization’s Conference Center to support the company’s hiring and job training activities.
“We are honored to welcome Fuji Vegetable Oil to Jefferson Parish,” said JEDCO President and CEO Jerry Bologna. “Fuji’s groundbreaking marks the entrance of another global company into our community. This announcement brings even more foreign direct investment into Jefferson Parish, placing this area at a strategic advantage to attract additional international companies like Fuji. We are grateful for Fuji’s investment and vision, and we look forward to working with the company as it grows and thrives in Jefferson Parish.”
Fuji Vegetable Oil anticipates hiring for the project will begin in the fourth quarter of 2019, with the completion of construction scheduled for June 2020 and operations beginning soon thereafter.
“This has been an outstanding year for Avondale and the West Bank of Jefferson, and Fuji Vegetable Oil represents yet another milestone in bringing back an important economic engine for the greater New Orleans region,” said GNO Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht. “Fuji Vegetable Oil is a great addition to our business community, complementing our growing food manufacturing industry. We look forward to supporting their success here.”
About Fuji Vegetable Oil
Fuji Vegetable Oil Inc. is a leader in the production of ingredients for the food industry. Established in 1987, Fuji Vegetable Oil has continued to grow as a major supplier of specialty fats and oils. Produced at its state-of-the-art refinery facilities in Savannah, Georgia, the company’s products are found in the confectionary and baking industries across North America. Consumers will find Fuji products in a variety of quality foods, from the finest chocolates to gourmet cakes. In addition, the company provides a multitude of products to industrial end-users. Fuji’s raw material comes from sustainable sources and include all the palm and palm kernel fractions, along with coconut and liquid oils. The company is dedicated to delivering only the best quality products and service. Fuji Vegetable Oil is a subsidiary of Fuji Oil Holdings Inc., which is headquartered in Japan. For more information, visit FujiOilUSA.com.