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HII Closes Sale of Shuttered Avondale Shipyard

Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans. The yard historically built amphibious ships for the U.S. Navy. Owners are now exploring using the yard for manufacturing oil and gas infrastructure. Google Photo

Huntington Ingalls Industries closed the sale of its Avondale shipbuilding facility to a joint venture between an industrial redevelopment company and marine terminal operator.

The purchaser, Avondale Marine, will be run by Norfolk, Va.-based T. Parker Host and Hilco Redevelopment Partners, Chicago-based Hilco Global. Located on the Mississippi River, about 12 miles upstream from the heart of New Orleans, the roughly 254-acre site is slated to become an intermodal transportation center serving commercial shippers, according to Avondale Marine.

“For generations, Avondale Shipyards has been a source of pride for the community that generated jobs and economic development,” Adam Anderson, the chief executive of T. Parker Host and principal of Avondale Marine, said in a statement. “Our team will unleash its potential by transforming the shipyard into a global logistics hub for intermodal commerce. As we usher in a new era for this facility, we will benefit from the strength and skill of the workforce in Jefferson Parish and Louisiana.”

The future of Avondale has gone through a few changes since 2013 when HII announced the facility would no longer build ships. Shipbuilding activities ceased in October 2014. At first, company officials considered turning the facility into a liquified natural gas terminal, as mentioned in a 2013 interview with USNI News.

Avondale started building ships in 1938. In recent years, the yard produced the Whidbey Island-class and San Antonio-class of amphibious ships. The yard was one of three facilities spun-off by Northrop Grumman to form HII. To save money, improve production efficiencies and reduce program costs, HII decided to combine its Gulf-coast shipbuilding activities at its Pascagoula, Miss., facility, according to the HII annual report.

San Antonio (LPD-17) is under construction at the then Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale Operations in 2003. US Navy Photo.

“We are very proud of our legacy at Avondale and the many contributions that generations of its shipbuilders made to our national security,” Brian Cuccias, the president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, in a statement. “Ingalls will continue to maintain a presence in Louisiana, not only at the UNO Center but also through the many Louisiana residents who commute to Pascagoula each day to help us build the ships we produce for our nation’s defense. We are pleased that Avondale Marine plans to put the facility back into commerce and look forward to its success.”

As of June 30, 2018, HII reported $41 million worth of Avondale’s assets were for sale the newly formed entity Avondale Marine.

“We’re thrilled to leverage our extensive experience in redeveloping and transforming facilities that are at the end of their current useful life into modern productive businesses for the future,” Roberto Perez, the chief executive of Hilco Redevelopment Partners, said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting our managing partners at T.P. Host in the Avondale Marine project as we build this important logistics hub in New Orleans.”

  • Marc Apter

    And there goes another Commercial Shipyard we say we need to build and repair our Navy’s ships! Why is the Administration letting this happen?

    • Secundius

      I doubt it was the Administration that let it happened! In May 2017, “HII” was fined ~$9.5-Million USD for by the US Justice Department for Overcharging the US Government for work that never took place. So after that, approximately 500 Mid-Level Managers lost their jobs and the CEO was replaced soon after that. Depending on what the Salary of a CEO “IS”, I suspect they had to “Shutter” a Low Profit Shipyard, and defer the operations/salary cost elsewhere…

      • Graeme Rymill

        The President and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries is Mike Petters. He became HII CEO in March 2011 and remains CEO to this day.

        • Secundius

          I stand corrected! Three people at the HII Shipbuilding Division at the Pascagoula were Sacked: Neil Holden, Robert Gardner and Randy Wilson. What there Positions within the HII Hierarchy was, I don’t know. But whistleblower Byron Faulknne received ~$1.9-Million under the False Claims Act…

          • vetww2

            Too bad, that the “False claims act was not around when RADM Manganero, then NAVSEA 001 nailed Newport News and Ingalls for almost 2 billion in false claims. I helped him on some technical points

          • Secundius

            Ahhh, 12 Stat. 686 or the False Claims Act (i.e. “Lincoln Law”) has been around since 2 March 1863…

          • vetww2

            Does it apply to active duty abmirals, doing their assigned job?

          • Secundius

            I don’t know! I suspect the reason why you DON’T hear much about “Whistleblower” in History is because of the US Congress. From 1863 to 1943, a “Government Whistleblower” received ~50% in Whatever the Fraudulent Crime was plus a New Identity. In order to keep that person “Safe” by repercussions within the former Workplace. After 1943, the US Congress changed the Rules to ~30% and NO Identity Change. It changed again in the 1960’s to ~25% with the latter still being applied. Current rate is ~16.3%, and the incentive to Whistleblowing” is no longer there, if it means “Death Threats” by previous Employers and Employees. Seem like the US Congress is going out of it way, to have people NOT Whistleblow for Monetary Reward. And do it from Patriotic Reasons only…

          • vetww2

            You are incredible. Sort of goog;e with brains. I, personally thank you for the info that you provide.

          • Secundius

            The “Lincoln Law” was put into place, against those the were Charging Twice and Three Times the Rate for “Food” supplied to the “Union Army and Navy” during the Civil War. Which later included the Railroads for the Transportation of Supplies…

        • Rocco

          And!!!???

      • Rocco

        He’s a Troll!!

        • Secundius

          OK, Thanks…

        • Graeme Rymill

          Retracted with apologies to all

          • Rocco

            So your mom’s a troll or an arsehole!?

          • Graeme Rymill

            Retracted with apologies to all

          • Rocco

            Sure be my guest her name is butanna!!!

          • Graeme Rymill

            Retracted

          • Rocco

            How about you GFYS!!

          • Rocco

            Troll

          • Graeme Rymill

            retracted with apologies to all

          • vetww2

            Unconciable. EDITOR!

          • vetww2

            EDITOR!

          • vetww2

            atrocious!!! EDITOR

          • vetww2

            TERRIBLE, EDITOR

          • vetww2

            horrid comment!EDITOR!

          • vetww2

            REPREHENSIBLE, EDITOR!

          • Rocco

            What are you the Auditor!!

          • vetww2

            inapropriate comment!EDITOR

    • wilkinak

      Avondale wasn’t a great shipyard, they weren’t known for quality, and that was within HII-NNS.

      IIRC, they had to rewire LPD 18 after (or maybe before) delivery because the electrical distribution was such a disaster.

    • El_Sid

      The short answer is – to save NASSCO instead.

      The second-order answer is – China.

      The Pacific pivot means that the US needs a lot more ship repair capability on the West Coast – it’s kinda crazy that the recent Burke casualties in 7th Fleet had to transit the Panama Canal to get to the repair shop. So it makes sense to build up capacity on the West Coast, but if no more ships are being built, then somewhere on the Atlantic coast has to take the pain. We’ve seen that building ships in the middle of hurricane alley isn’t exactly ideal, so that’s an obvious place to look for cuts.

      Also Sean Stackley was consciously trying to build up NASSCO’s experience so that he had two vendors competing for gator business in the same way as Burkes and Virginias – it’s notable that the LPD programme has not been as successful as those where two vendors are competing for business. Avondale being owned by HII doesn’t really help competition.

      NASSCO is still a way away from being able to compete effectively on gators, but it wouldn’t be able to compete at all if it was shut down.

  • vetww2

    This is an incredible opportunity for The buyers to visit modern plants in South Korea, Finland and Poland to see the latest. MODERN, economical ship construction methods. Gdansk is a particularly sharp group of builders (Cruise ships), Finland for large icebreakers (Even nuclear), and Hyundai, for large (multi- hundred thousand ton) ships. Hyundai builds these huge ships, in large sections fully equipped, under roof, without cranes, using tipping fixtures and graving docks,
    I assume that Hilco is backed by some Wall street fund managers who are very prone to taking risks for big payoffs.
    Ah, if I was only 20 years younger.

    • Secundius

      Finland “Didn’t” install the Nuclear Reactor and Running Gear! The Admiralty Shipyards at St. Petersburg, Russia “Did”…

      • vetww2

        Although I get your point, we were talking shipbuilding, not propulsion. My comment stands.