If there are any better prospects for the old Avondale shipyard, the people of New Orleans and Louisiana would be delighted to hear of them.
The announcement last month that Huntington Ingalls Industries and Kinder Morgan have decided against a joint venture involving the vast complex is more bad news.
The West Bank shipyard was a giant employer. For the nation, it provided the ships for the Navy and Coast Guard.
The two companies began looking at the economic viability of repurposing the shipyard about a year ago, with potential uses including manufacturing and terminal operations.
The Newport News, Va.-based company, spun off by defense giant Northrop Grumman to run its shipyards, said it “will continue to assess all alternatives for future use of the facility, to include selling the property, and will continue to work closely with the state of Louisiana and Louisiana Economic Development.”
In the wake of the 2011 closure announcement, Louisiana Economic Development officials had offered a $214 million incentive package to help pay for workforce training and major upgrades to the shipyard if it could find a partner to keep the site operational and maintain 3,850 full-time workers.
While those incentives may still be on the table, expectations for recapturing even that many workers have dwindled as the company indicated to Wall Street that it would close the plant, even as it made overtures in-state of finding new work.
It’s a giant industrial facility idled, ironically at a time when the Navy and Coast Guard need to modernize their aging fleets.
We continue to hope for the best.