Yara adds to St. James industrial sector

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011



CONVENT – Representatives from internationally known agricultural firm Yara recently celebrated the grand opening of the company’s new gateway terminal facility in Convent.

The new facility, one 15 operated by the firm in North America, will provide increased access to imported urea, a popular nitrogen-based fertilizer, to agricultural markets locally and throughout the Midwest and eastern United States, said Yara Vice President of Sales Gary Vogen.

“The terminal will help us to ship and sell more fertilizer in U.S. markets, where we average nearly 300,000 tons per year,” Vogen said. “The facility also offers additional 55,000 tons of storage space for urea and other fertilizers.”

The terminal, known as the “New Orleans Gateway,” is situated along the Mississippi River about 60 miles upriver from New Orleans. Vogen said the facility has access to rail and ship traffic for transport of fertilizer products that are shipped to and stored at the facility.

“St. James was the ideal choice given its proximity to several modes of transportation,” Vogen said. “The facility is situated right between the railroad and the river traffic.”

St. James Parish President Dale Hymel said construction began on the $30 million facility in 2008, and the first ship arrived at the terminal dock in December 2010. He said the project acted as the kick-starter for the recent industrial boon in the westernmost parts of the parish.

“This is just one in a long line of industry projects we have benefitted from in recent years,” Hymel said. “It wasn’t long after this project started that we learned about the Nucor project and the tank farm expansions at NuStar and Plains All American. The parish continues to be a good fit for new industry.”

Hymel said the construction brought about 150 jobs to the parish and about $15.5 million in sales taxes. He said daily operations at the terminal bring about 11 new permanent jobs to the parish.

Vogen said the terminal also benefits from a unique dock facility that is capable of rising and falling with the height of the river. He said the floating dock allowed for ships to continue using the terminal during the recent flooding event inside the Mississippi River levee system.

“The dock is the first of its kind in the U.S.,” Vogen said. “It is something that other facilities in this region and around the country are now copying.”

In a speech to those gathered for the grand opening, Yara North America President Bartolomeo Pescio said the opening of the terminal shows that the company is committed to long-term growth and ambition in North American Markets.

The company has been operating in the U.S. for 65 years.