An Interview With Port Of Caddo-Bossier Executive Director Eric England

One of the nation’s fastest growing inland hubs, The Port of Caddo-Bossier represents a key part of Louisiana’s statewide transportation network. Four miles south of Shreveport, the port enables companies to move raw materials and finished goods to global markets by ground, water and rail. More than 1,500 people work at the port complex, which is governed by a 9-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the parishes of Caddo and Bossier and the cities of Shreveport and Bossier City and managed by Executive Port Director Eric England and his staff.

EQ: Established after 1993, The Port of Caddo-Bossier is a young port that has grown significantly. What attracts investors to the port?

England: The multimodal transportation network, the sheer size of greenfield land and the opportunities available for existing regional companies to expand all stand out. We’re on a 2,300-acre site and have seen $1.5 billion in improvements. We offer river access, roads, rail and utilities, and the majority of the sites are already zoned for industrial use. It’s not often you find that many resources within a site with workforce advantages, affordable cost of living and high quality of life.

EQ: Benteler Steel/Tube chose your port for its first U.S. production plant after considering 100 potential sites. What has that choice meant for Northwest Louisiana?

England: It’s huge. It’s an investment of close to a billion dollars on a 370-acre site at The Port of Caddo-Bossier. It’s one of the largest manufacturing projects ever in Northwest Louisiana, and we believe that it will help attract more global investment to the port. The first phase of the project means approximately 500 new direct jobs. An economic study revealed that the project will have a cumulative economic impact of $16.2 billion in the region.

EQ: Space is one of your greatest assets. How many tenants call the port home?

England: We have 17 tenants, including Ronpak, a major manufacturer of printed paper bags. The company had a new facility at The Port of Caddo-Bossier, but recently moved its headquarters here as well. We also have Pratt Industries’ paper mill and recycling facility (Pratt is the fifth-largest corrugated box manufacturer in the U.S.) and many other great companies. We have several greenfield sites that are ready for industrial development. They’re equipped with roads to sites or boundary lines, and have access to utilities, direct rail or rail spurs and other infrastructure assets, including natural gas, water, electricity and fiber optics.

EQ: How do you help tenants make the transition to a new or bigger port site?

England: We have a 33,000-square-foot Regional Commerce Center available to new and existing tenants. Companies can use the RCC for office space as they’re completing facilities. It offers multimedia-meeting space for up to 200 participants. It’s also a facility where companies can conduct job interviews or vendor fairs.

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