Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Metal Shark Boats President Chris Allard announced the company will make a $1.52 million capital investment to expand its Jeanerette shipyard in support of military, law enforcement agency and commercial boat contracts. The expansion will create 88 new direct jobs, with an average salary of more than $62,000, plus benefits, and Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 134 new indirect jobs, for a total of 222 new jobs. The project will also create 25 construction jobs while retaining 144 existing Metal Shark employees.
Metal Shark will continue production for its major U.S. Coast Guard response boat contract, fulfilling an order for nearly 500 new watercraft for the Coast Guard’s Homeland Security response, and the expansion will boost production of more than two dozen other production models ranging in size from 16 feet to 60 feet.
Gov. Jindal said, “Today’s announcement is a win for Acadiana and our entire state. Metal Shark and other companies continue to invest and expand in Louisiana because of our strong business climate and our incomparable workforce. Metal Shark’s work for the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and other federal and state agencies allows our state to continue its tradition of helping our nation’s military protect the homeland. Metal Shark is just one of many companies here in Louisiana that is meeting the needs of our armed forces while also providing great jobs for our hardworking men and women.”
In May 2012, Gov. Jindal dedicated a previous expansion of Metal Shark’s facilities in Jeanerette, after the company won a $192 million U.S. Coast Guard contract in November 2011 to build the Response Boat-Small, a watercraft adopted by the Coast Guard to broaden its homeland security mission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The company is also building other boat classes for the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, local law enforcement agencies and foreign agencies.
The state began working with Metal Shark Boats on the current expansion project in November 2012 and will provide the company with a $750,000 Economic Development Loan Program award, along with the services of LED FastStart®, the nation’s top-rated state workforce development program. Metal Shark also is expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs. Construction will begin later this year and hiring for Metal Shark’s new jobs is under way.
“The continued support of Louisiana Economic Development has been key to Metal Shark’s success over the past few years,” Allard said. “These pro-business incentives will enable Metal Shark to sustain its rapid growth by doubling manufacturing capacity over the next 12 months and increasing workforce by at least 30 percent over the next four years. Metal Shark is excited to announce this major facilities expansion, creating the potential for the production of larger vessels greater than 50 feet in length.”
“It’s exciting to see such a dynamic local small business making a big impact,” said President and CEO Mike Tarantino of the Iberia Industrial Development Foundation. “We are thankful for the combined investment of Metal Shark and the State of Louisiana in a business expansion which will result in new jobs and new opportunities for Iberia Parish.”
Image courtesy Metal Shark