Apr 11, 2012 7:29 PM by Maddie Garrett
More than 500 jobs are slated to be added to Iberia Parish's economy within a year, thanks to a large expansion at the Port of Iberia. Construction is already underway.
"We've been waiting for this for quite a while," said Lonny Breaux with LeBlanc Marine.
Breaux is excited to see the dredging boats at work, expanding Slip C-8 means his business can grow.
"We need more room and we've leased a piece in the back and we've just recently leased a piece on the canal so we're taking an advantage of increased business. And we need more space and probably more people," said Breaux.
Last January, the Port of Iberia bought 108 acres of neighboring land to expand one of its slips by a mile and a half. Dredging at Slip C-8 is the first phase of the project, and that part is well over half-way completed said Port of Iberia Executive Director Roy Pontiff.
Once dredging is complete and the construction put out for bid, Pontiff said it'll take about four months to dig the new slip and should be ready for new businesses and new jobs by January 2013.
"Whenever we can expand the port and have more industry here, whether it's an expansion of existing or relocation of industry from neighboring states of Texas or Mississippi, it employs our folks and that's what we're all about," said Pontiff.
And with one spot already leased out to LeBlanc Marine, Pontiff said he's in talks with other prospects and the expansion is looking promising.
Many products are shipped to and from the port, such as commodities, gas and oil supplies and agricultural products. It's mainly a fabrication-based port and all work heads directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
A previous expansion very similar to this current project created 565 jobs. Average pay for the jobs being created is between $50,000 and $70,000.