International Shipholding returns to New Orleans

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News,Business

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A shipping company that moved its headquarters to Mobile, Ala., after Hurricane Katrina, is returning to New Orleans.

International Shipholding Corp., which specializes in moving bulk cargo, industrial equipment and military vehicles, announced the decision at a press conference held Wednesday at the Port of New Orleans.

"We are pleased to be returning to New Orleans where the Mississippi River once again plays an important strategic role for our company," company President Erik L. Johnsen said. "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."

Johnsen's family founded the business in New Orleans in 1947. The company's return plans include renovating a space in the Warehouse District where it plans to employ at least 100 people. The new jobs will average $70,000 per year.

Johnsen said he's not sure how many employees will move from Mobile or new hires the company will make as some company operations will remain in Mobile. Current employees are being offered relocation packages, the details of which will probably remain private, according to NewOrleansCityBusiness (http://bit.ly/1bsqZrm).

Renovations should be complete by mid-2015, with operations to begin by early 2016, Johnsen said.

"We have worked long and hard to bring back this storied company to its rightful place in New Orleans," Gov. Bobby Jindal said. "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.

"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. International Shipholding's return affirms a genuine truth about New Orleans — this city is back, and better than ever before."

LED began discussions with ISH about its potential corporate headquarters relocation in March 2011. To secure the project, the state 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.

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