GONZALES - Getting the idled Burnside transport terminal up and running again will take about $100 million and 18 months of renovation.
That’s why Trafigura, the terminal’s new owner, is ready to begin the engineering work and meet with Ascension Parish officials to get the job moving, said Mark Eadie, a corporate affairs representative for the global shipping and warehousing giant.
“We’re meeting with a lot of people today, not because we have a lot of answers at all,” said Eadie in a meeting with reporters on Tuesday in Gonzales. “But we want to know what their questions are.”
Trafigura recently bought the rusty 1950s-era industrial site next to the Ormet alumina plant for $28 million and plans to transform it into “really one of America’s best top export terminals,” Eadie said.
The terminal will be equipped to ship up to 10 million tons of coal a year, primarily to international markets, said Andy Smolenack, a coal trader with Trafigura. The terminal will be outfitted to serve ocean-going vessels capable of carrying about 80,000 tons each and will be loaded via barges coming down the river as well as from rail cars, say company officials.
The rehabilitation process will generate about 200 to 300 construction jobs, and operating the terminal will require about 100 workers, Eadie said, noting this will likely be accomplished by a service contractor.
The transport terminal will be owned by Trafigura subsidiary Impala Warehousing LLC, which has already filed preliminary economic development incentive applications with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.
The project hopes to participate in the Restoration Tax Abatement program, which offers a 100 percent tax abatement for five years for the rehabilitation of an existing structure. Also, Impala applied for Enterprise Zone incentives, which are structured around how many jobs a project creates.
The incentives can come in the form of several different types of tax credits, if at least 35 percent of new hires come from four targeted groups, such as hiring someone lacking basic skills or hiring someone on public assistance.
However, Trafigura officials made clear, the Burnside project is not contingent on the state’s economic development incentives.
Trafigura is an international company with transport terminals and warehouses in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The company generated more than $70 billion in revenue in 2010, Trafigura officials said.