New $200 million project expected to produce 200+ jobs

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco joined executives from Grupo IMSA, a multinational metal processing company headquartered in Kalama, WA, to announce the location of Grupo IMSA subsidiary, Steelscape, at the Port of Shreveport-Bossier.

Grupo IMSA will invest $200 million to build and outfit a 200,000-square-foot facility that will produce metallic-coated and pre-painted steel coils primarily for the construction and OEM markets in the United States and Canada. The project is expected to create up to 240 jobs.

“We are pleased to welcome Grupo IMSA and Steelscape to Louisiana. This company is well known in the steel products industry for their quality, reliability and customer service,” said Governor Blanco. “Steelscape is the kind of company that we are proud to recruit to Louisiana. Their record reflects a commitment to safety, health and environmental responsibility. As for bringing quality jobs to our state, Steelscape will provide competitive pay and outstanding benefits to its Louisiana work force.”

Grupo IMSA’s investment is the largest individual project launched at the Port of Shreveport-Bossier, slated to produce 500,000 tons of finished product per year when complete. The company will build the production facility in four stages on a 78-acre site. The first stage of production is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2006.

According to Michael J. Olivier, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development (LED), the state was successful in attracting Steelscape to the Port of Shreveport-Bossier through the effective use of streamlined procedures introduced by Governor Blanco and collaboration among state agencies.

“Economic development in Louisiana is most successful when the state can work with local and regional development engines, such as the Port of Shreveport-Bossier, to maximize the use of worker training programs, site improvements and incentive packages and tailor those programs to company’s specific needs,” said Olivier. “For Steelscape, a number of state agencies, including LED, the Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality and the Louisiana Dept. of Transportation and Development worked together to process the necessary permits and other needs in a streamlined fashion. This is Governor Blanco’s vision for state agency cooperation put into action. Most importantly, that vision is producing results.”

The Steelscape project will utilize 300 barge shipments per year, effectively doubling the record amount of barge traffic in 2004 at the Port of Shreveport-Bossier, according to an economic report prepared by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. In addition, the Center estimates that motor freight traffic at the Port would increase by 16,000 trucks per year to a total of more than 40,000 trucks per year. The company is also expected to utilize 7,000 rail cars of commodity.

Commissioner Lynn Austin, president of the Caddo-Bossier Parishes Port Commission, called Grupo IMSA’s decision to locate at the Shreveport-Bossier complex, “an important and historic day” for the Port. “Business and industry are increasingly recognizing the incredible industrial complex we have built here and the advantages we can provide. On behalf of all the people of Shreveport and Bossier, we warmly welcome Steelscape to our community and sincerely thank you for the confidence you have shown in us,” said Austin.