BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards, Port of New Orleans President and CEO Brandy D. Christian, and Lineage Logistics President and CEO Greg Lehmkuhl announced the company will build a $42 million expansion of its Jourdan Road cold-storage facility in New Orleans East, where Lineage plans to create 50 new direct jobs.
One of two major Lineage facilities at the Port of New Orleans, the cold-storage complex at Jourdan Road along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal will grow from 160,000 square feet to 304,000 square feet. The company will retain 188 existing Louisiana jobs with the new project, while creating an estimated 50 new direct maritime and warehousing jobs with an expected average annual pay of $61,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 56 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 100 new permanent jobs in the region.
“The Lineage Logistics project at the Port of New Orleans is a boon for the City of New Orleans and our entire state,” Gov. Edwards said. “The value-added exports of Lineage Logistics will continue to strengthen Louisiana’s $1.6 billion poultry industry, including nearly 300 commercial broiler producers throughout 11 parishes. We welcome this significant new investment and its economic impact across Louisiana.”
Shipments from the existing and expanding cold-storage facilities of Lineage Logistics draw upon multiple Louisiana poultry producers, including hatcheries, feed mills, broiler complexes and processing plants. In 2020, Lineage facilities in New Orleans partnered with the Port of New Orleans to export 380,000 tons of poultry to global markets. The expansion will support imports of fresh produce as well.
“This expansion is critical, due to increasing worldwide demand for U.S. poultry, primarily from Angola, Cuba, Hong Kong, Mexico and Taiwan,” said Mike McClendon, Lineage’s president of International Operations and executive vice president of Network Optimization. “Lineage and Port NOLA have worked closely on this project to accommodate growing volumes and new lines of export agriculture commodities, and a growing trade of fresh produce imports.”
Lineage represents the largest network of temperature-controlled warehouses globally, with more than 340 strategically located facilities offering over 2.1 billion cubic feet of capacity and spanning 15 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South America. In New Orleans, the company operates two cold-storage and blast-freeze facilities that have the capacity to blast-freeze 2.8 million pounds of product to zero degrees in 24 hours.
“This expansion of Lineage Logistics in New Orleans East is a win-win-win for the City of New Orleans," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Not only does it create economic impact and strengthen our role in the poultry industry, it will also help us get our people back to work by creating 50 new direct jobs, and another 150 construction jobs. On our road to recovery from COVID-19, we have to diversify our economy in order to make a real impact and move the needle for our people around economic mobility, and this expansion is a great step.”
To secure the expansion project, the State of Louisiana is providing $10 million in capital outlay funds, while the Port of New Orleans is providing $2 million and Lineage Logistics is investing the remaining $30 million in capital for the cold-storage project. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.
“Port NOLA is elated to see this project move forward,” said port President and CEO Brandy Christian. “Poultry exports have traditionally been a strong segment of our cargo portfolio and, due to worldwide demand, we see poultry and other temperature-sensitive cargoes as critical to Port NOLA’s future.”
In 2020, Lineage acquired New Orleans Cold Storage as part of its acquisition of Emergent Cold. The port and New Orleans Cold Storage opened a new 140,000-square-foot, blast-freeze facility in 2012 at the Henry Clay Avenue Wharf upriver, adding 1.25 million pounds of daily blast-freeze capacity and 38 million pounds of storage capacity for frozen goods. That capacity is in addition to the Jourdan Road site.
“The benefit of this project cannot be overstated,” said Commissioner Mike Strain of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. “Between 30 percent and 40 percent of the poultry exported through this facility is produced and processed at Louisiana commercial broiler farms, and the Lineage project is critical not just for Louisiana’s poultry industry, but for our soybean farmers as well. Soybeans feed our poultry industry, and our poultry industry feeds the world.”
Lineage’s expansion project, which will generate an estimated 150 construction jobs, is projected to be complete in the second quarter of 2022, and the company will begin hiring for its new jobs in early 2022.