Officials say fed cutbacks reduce hope for local site

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE-The possibility of a Bollinger shipyard being built in one of the river parishes, thereby creating thousands of jobs, is presently in a state of limbo.

When the Bollinger research and development engineering department relocated their office from Slidell to James Business Park in St. Rose, there was hope that an actual shipyard might soon be built in St. Charles Parish.

But a stall by the federal government has left developers with nothing to do on the matter but cross their fingers.

According to Corey Faucheaux, economic development director for St. Charles Parish, all plans for the shipyard have been postponed due to the federal government’s Department of Defense decision not to fund the vessels needed to build the shipyard.

Robert Socha, vice president of marketing and sales for Bollinger agrees that construction of a new shipyard is linked to government contracts that “continue to slide.

“The potential is there for a new development,” Socha said, “but not as forthcoming as we had hoped.”

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. specializes in marine repair and conversion services. They have 14 shipyards in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Though Faucheaux said the parish has been working with the port of South Louisiana for over a year with hopes for the shipyard, there has not been much action on the subject lately.

“Not much has been done on the local end within sixth months, Faucheaux said, “we’ve stayed in touch with Bollinger and we’re going to follow their lead.”

Faucheaux believes if a shipyard is built it would create “about 500 jobs to start with, to be ramped up quickly to about 2,000 to 3,000 jobs, depending on work provided by Department of Defense.”

Socha said, as of now, there is no particular parish that has a higher possibility of gaining the shipyard.

Faucheaux said that even if it is not built in St. Charles Parish, he will still work on it setting up somewhere in the Port of South Louisiana.