"We also have a Quality Jobs Program for companies hiring full--time employees in manufacturing or processing industries," explains Kane. "If the employee works more than 35 hours a week, employers pay at least 85 percent of their health care benefits and qualified employers are eligible for an annual 6 percent refund of their payroll."
Kane cites a client with whom his organization is currently working, who will build a new facility and will employ 60 new workers at $35,000 a year in a manufacturing operation. "On 60 workers, at 6 percent, that equates to $126,000 a year. Since the program is applicable for 10 years, at the end of those 10 years that is $1.26 million that the employer will receive in cash refunds from the state," Kane explains.
Food is a major industry in the state. The commercial seafood industry alone brings in more than $2.7 billion in revenues to the state and supports more than 27,000 jobs, with more than 1.2 billion pounds of finfish, shellfish and crustacean harvest landed and sold annually. Louisiana is also where Tabasco Sauce is manufactured and bottled.
"Food is an important part of our culture and I’ve never seen so many people in one area whose hobby is cooking," says Kane.
New Orleans Cold Storage
New Orleans Cold Storage (NOCS), located at the Port of New Orleans, is 118 years old—with three locations in New Orleans, one in South Carolina and one in Houston.
NOCS recently began operating a new dockside 160,000--square--foot facility in New Orleans for frozen storage to keep up with its exploding business.
"We are located in major port cities and our function is to service primarily frozen and chilled food products for either export or import," says Mark Blanchard, executive vice president.
NOCS handles poultry primarily for export to Russia, Eastern Europe and Africa. "We don’t own any of the products and we are not the exporters––we are the service providers for the cargo," explains Blanchard.
He adds that the location at the port is very vital to the company. "We are either loading containers which go aboard ships or we are loading ships with refrigerated or frozen cargo," he says. On the outbound from New Orleans, NOCS shipped more than 250,000 metric tons last year, in addition to a large number of containers.
The company receives poultry on the inbound in refrigerated trucks from poultry processors in the Southeast. Inbound cargo to the New Orleans plants number about 20 containers a month––or 480 tons of a variety of refrigerated and frozen food per month. NOCS also receives shrimp on the inbound from local fisheries and these products are then shipped via refrigerated truck throughout the country.
Also on the inbound are imported foods––seafood, beef and pork––from South America, the Pacific Rim, Australia and New Zealand. Imported products are stored in NOCS’s facilities until its clients want those products shipped out. These shipments travel throughout the country to food distributors or food retailers by refrigerated truck.
As for business incentives, NOCS finds the state’s Quality Jobs Program helpful in creating jobs in the new facility.
"The program will allow us to get state and local sales tax rebates on equipment and building materials that were purchased for the new facility––which is justified through the creation of new jobs for the area," Blanchard says.
Although the incentives are beneficial to the company, they were not critical in the decision to expand and build a new facility. "But the incentives certainly had some impact on our decision to expand in New Orleans rather than in Texas or South Carolina," he says.