Barge maker Trinity Marine Products Inc. plans to permanently close its Port Allen/Brusly plant and will lay off all 283 workers.
The layoffs are to begin on Oct. 23 and be completed by Nov. 30, according to a notice the company filed with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Trinity Marine Products makes dry-cargo and tank barges used on rivers and other inland waterways, according to the company’s website. The barges are used to move products that include grain and coal, and aggregates or petroleum, fertilizer, ethanol and chemicals.
“Trinity has done that several times over the years …. Usually it will shut down a while, but they usually always come back,” said West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley Berthelot Jr. “And I hope that’s what will happen again.”
Trinity informed the Louisiana Workforce Commission of the planned closure on Aug. 20. Trinity officials could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
Berthelot said Trinity’s employees, mainly welders and pipefitters, should be able to find new jobs fairly quickly because of all of the industrial projects in the area.
Brusly Mayor Joey Normand said the layoffs are most likely the result of the downturn in the oil industry.
“Trinity is the kind of company whose staffing is based on the contracts it has in the pipeline,” Normand said. “What this is telling me is that along about Christmastime, they just don’t have any work that they see is available. Now should they get some kind of big old contract in the next month or two, I’m sure they would just keep on keeping on in November.”
The layoffs aren’t expected to affect Brusly’s tax collections, but job losses are never good, he said.
Trinity’s Port Allen site has seen its share of ups and downs. The yard closed for eight months in 2005, laying off 300 workers. In 2009, the yard laid off 190 workers.
Scott Gaudin, chairman of the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, said Trinity’s location is one of the best in the Gulf Coast.
“If it becomes available, it won’t be available for very long,” Gaudin said.