FEBRUARY 6, 2014 — Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) have persuaded International Shipholding Corporation (NYSE:ISC). to relocate its corporate headquarters from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans, where the business was founded in 1947.
The company left New Orleans in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.
LED began discussions with ISH about its potential corporate headquarters relocation in March 2011. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes performance-based grants of $5.17 million to offset costs of establishing the new headquarters facility in New Orleans and $5.10 million to reimburse relocation costs associated with the company's move. In addition, ISH will receive what LED calls "the comprehensive workforce solutions" of the LED FastStart workforce training program.
In New Orleans, ISH will create 100 new direct jobs at a 45,000- to 50,000-square-foot headquarters facility in the city's Warehouse District, where the company will soon complete a purchase of property already under contract. The new direct jobs will average $70,000 per year, plus benefits, and LED estimates the project will result in an additional 113 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 210 new jobs in the greater New Orleans area.
Based upon ISH's plans to renovate a historic structure, the company could be eligible for a Restoration Tax Abatement incentive waiving property taxes on improvements to the structure for up to 10 years, subject to approvals from the local governing authority and the State of Louisiana.
Governor Jindal said, "I am excited to announce the return of International Shipholding Corporation to New Orleans, where ISH will continue a great tradition of maritime and international commerce companies operating in Louisiana's largest city. ISH could have stayed in Mobile, but they are coming back home because of our strong business climate, expanding industrial projects, resurgent New Orleans economy, and business growth along the Mississippi River.
"We have worked long and hard to bring back this storied company to its rightful place in New Orleans. Not only is this a great international commerce win for our state, but ISH will provide outstanding professional career opportunities in New Orleans and add another publicly held company to our growing business community. International Shipholding's return affirms a genuine truth about New Orleans – this city is back, and better than ever before."
In addition to operating a fleet of 50 cargo vessels, ISH provides brokerage, logistics and other maritime services to customers that include the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, International Paper, Norfolk Southern, Freeport Copper & Gold, Dow, Cargill, CSX, The Mosaic Company and more.
"We are pleased to be returning to New Orleans where the Mississippi River once again plays an important strategic role for our company," said ISH Chairman and Chief Executive Office Niels M. Johnsen. "We are excited to be returning at a time when the city has made significant progress in its recovery. We further believe we will be better-positioned in New Orleans to take advantage of transportation opportunities from the significant industrial investment being made in the state."
ISH will conduct its headquarters facility renovation in 2014 and 2015 and relocate employees and resources as the corporate headquarters is completed. The entire transition will be concluded by the fourth quarter of 2015, when ISH will begin formal operation of its headquarters in New Orleans.
ISH says its move will apply solely to the corporate headquarters, with significant operations remaining in Mobile. These will include its railcar repair facility and CG Railway terminal. In addition, ISH will maintain an active presence in the Port of Mobile.