BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards highlighted an agreement between Louisiana Economic Development and the Madison Parish Port to expand port infrastructure in support of future economic development. With investments of $3.6 million by LED, $500,000 by the port and $4 million by Complex Chemical, the port’s anchor tenant, the $8.1 million project will provide for the installation of an 8-inch natural gas pipeline to serve port facilities along the Mississippi River.
Complex Chemical originally planned to invest in a 4-inch natural gas line for the exclusive use of its plant. With LED and the port investing in the project, a larger pipeline became feasible and will provide increased capacity that could serve additional tenants at the port.
“This is an important investment for Madison Parish and Northeast Louisiana by our state,” Gov. Edwards said. “We know that effective logistics and state-of-the-art utility service are vital for attracting desirable companies to the ports and industrial parks of Louisiana. With the addition of high-capacity natural gas service for its industrial tenants, the Madison Parish Port can strengthen its position as a focal point for quality jobs and economic development in Northeast Louisiana.”
Located near Tallulah, the Madison Parish Port is a leading port along the more than 500-mile section of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and Memphis, Tennessee. It handles about 750,000 tons of cargo annually, including aggregates, lime, dry and liquid fertilizer, cottonseed, grain and steel.
“This project has taken a lot of work by the port, Louisiana Economic Development and others, and we are glad to see it taking shape,” Madison Parish Port Commission Executive Director Terry Murphy said. “This will help Complex Chemical, which has been expanding and adding employees here. It also will open up additional opportunities for the port to attract other tenants, including chemical plants or other industries.”
Complex Chemical plans to use the increased availability of natural gas to invest more than $6 million in plant improvements in the next two years, while adding 20 new direct jobs. With a current workforce of 125, the company manufactures a variety of products, including brake fluid and antifreeze for the automotive industry. The plant was badly damaged by a major tornado in 2010 but the company rebuilt the facility and has continued to expand.
“A major factor contributing to the economic health of Complex Chemical is low-cost energy,” company President Jerry Melton said. “While Complex has had that in the past, natural gas demand at Complex has exceeded available supply. The installation of this new pipeline will assure Complex ample supply of natural gas for now and the future. Many thanks are in order for officials at Louisiana Economic Development, the Madison Parish Port Commission and CenterPoint Energy. It is a fine example of what can be accomplished with everyone working hard toward a common goal – better opportunities for Madison Parish.”
CenterPoint Energy will construct the pipeline and provide the natural gas service.
“The Madison Parish Police Jury has worked closely with the Madison Parish Port staff and the Port Commission in business development,” Police Jury President Robert Dalton Fortenberry said. “This investment from state and port funds will enhance this area’s ability to attract new business investments and job creation for all of Northeast Louisiana. Complex Chemical, the largest investor and employer at the Madison Parish Port, will continue to grow and expand due to this project.”
“The Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance applauds this improvement project for the Madison Parish Port,” said NELEA CEO Tana Trichel. “The port already has an impressive mix of tenants, and the addition of available natural gas service could help the port attract even more companies to locate there.”