Gov. Bobby Jindal and Frank Vingerhoets, Katoen Natie’s president of petrochemicals in North America, have announced that 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.
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. 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.”
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® workforce development program.
“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,” said BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp.
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.”
Katoen Natie NV is headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, with U.S. operations headquartered in Houston.