A Hub for Industry
Central Louisiana has long been a hub for agriculture, agri-business, forestry and timber related industries as well as for manufacturing. Big name companies like Procter and Gamble, Crest Industries and Weyerhaeuser have called the area home for more than 40 years. However, more recently Sundrop Fuels, Cool Planet and German Pellets have made the decision to plant in the region—illustrating how the area is now also becoming a hotspot for biofuel industries.
Sundrop Fuels was the first to announce its plans to settle in the area in November 2011. This privately held company purchased more than 1,200 acres of land in 2013 for its inaugural fuels facility, which will cost $500 million to construct.
German Pellets followed Sundrop in April 2013. The facility, located in Urania, will be the world’s largest pellet plant, creating 500 direct and indirect jobs and investing at least $300 million for construction. The site is expected to produce one million tons of wood pellets per year, which is twice as much as its first U.S. plant in Woodville, Texas.
Hinterland, LLC announced in July of 2013, that it will construct a $100 million-plus, 50-job biomass facility in the 130-acre Vidalia Industrial Park in Concordia Parish.
In August 2013, Cool Planet announced Alexandria as one of the sites for its three new biomass-to-gasoline facilities. This refinery plant will be capable of producing 10 million gallons of high-octane, low-vapor pressure gasoline and will provide 494 direct and indirect jobs.
Biofuel companies are drawn to the area because of the available timber. While lumber is an important part of the companies’ production process, the Louisiana Forestry Association has quickly dispelled any notion of negative impact on the region. The industries will only harvest less than 10 percent of new annual forest growth, and will utilize sustainable forestry processes.
Another draw for businesses is the area’s established river, rail and interstate systems for transporting both raw materials and finished products.
The region’s traditional manufacturing sector is growing as well. PaperWorks Industries has announced that it will relocate its carton finishing operations from New York to Alexandria, creating 43 jobs. The company will join two other companies, Plastipak and Integrated Packaging in producing containers locally for P & G.
In nearby Avoyelles Parish, Gulf Coast Spinning has announced that it will invest $130 million to build a new cotton spinning facility in Bunkie that will create over 300 new direct jobs and over 700 indirect jobs.
Universal Plant Services Midstream is building a new plant in Jena in LaSalle Parish to manufacture and repair reciprocating compressor equipment. The facility will create 95 new direct jobs and 121 indirect jobs.
Additionally, many of the existing central Louisiana manufacturers are experiencing significant growth. P & G, RoyOMartin Co., Dis-Tran (Crest Industries), Union Tank Car, Hayes Manufacturing, BASF and Eclectic Products have recently announced plans to expand operations, collectively adding hundreds of new direct and indirect jobs.
Other significant manufacturers with a presence in central Louisiana include, AFCO, Manchac Technologies, General Electric Co., Accurate Industries, Hunt Forest Products, Boise Wood Products, Kerotest Manufacturing, Stella-Jones, Great Southern Wood, Arclin, Willamette Valley, Momentive, Baker Manufacturing, Oilfield Instrumentation, Catahoula Manufacturing, Louisiana Elastomer, Sports Design, Consolidated Energy, CLECO, Leesville Lumber, West Fraser Jeld-Wen, and Alliance Compressors.