Barge maker Trinity Marine Products Inc. plans to close its Madisonville plant in December and lay off 336 people.
The company said in a notice filed Monday with the Louisiana Workforce Commission that the layoffs will begin Dec. 4 and be finished by Dec. 30.
Trinity’s disclosure came two months after the barge maker said it would close its Brusly plant and lay off all 282 of its workers there. However, last week, the company said it had received a new contract and no one would be laid off.
Local officials and business leaders in St. Tammany Parish decried the news Monday.
“It’s very upsetting,” said Lacey Toledano, president and CEO of the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce, who described the plant as part of the parish’s economic “backbone.”
“It impacts my business because these are people that patronize small businesses,” she added.
St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said the plant’s closure came as “a bit of a surprise to us, but certainly a disappointment.”
“We are always disappointed if a business goes out of business,” she said. “We work hard to get them here, and we want them to stay and prosper.”
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Monday that it will send Rapid Response personnel to the Madisonville plant in the coming months to provide re-employment services to affected employees. Services include providing information about unemployment insurance benefits, résumé and interview skills training and job search tools. Affected employees can also visit their local Business and Careers Solutions Center to learn more about LWC services.
Trinity, which makes dry-cargo and tank barges used on rivers and other inland waterways, has owned the Madisonville barge facility for decades. It has previously halted its operations there only to later reopen the plant once demand picks up for the barges, which are used to move products including grain and coal, and aggregates or petroleum, fertilizer, ethanol and chemicals.
But there’s no telling whether that will happen once again. Trinity did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday.
Last week, Trinity pulled back on plans to cut 282 jobs at its Brusly site after it landed a contract that allowed the facility to remain open and retain all its employees. That yard was shuttered for eight months in 2005, laying off 300 workers. In 2009, the yard laid off 190 workers.