With a main shipyard and headquarters located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River at Avondale, Louisiana, The facility includes approximately 6,500 feet of wharves; 1,200 feet of launch ways and 2,900 feet of unimproved waterfront along the Mississippi River. The site covers 229 acres with 2.0 million square feet of enclosed space. The site also includes a 900-foot floating dry dock/launch platform, capabilities to convert or repair vessels up to approximately 1,000 feet in length, and a 650-foot floating dry dock mainly used for ship repair. The Avondale Shipyards employ over 5,500 people.
Specializing in the design, construction, conversion, repair and modernization of various types of ocean-going vessels for the military and commercial markets, Avondale Industries, Inc. is one of the largest shipbuilders in the United States. Avondale was first organized in 1938, and it began building ocean-going vessels in the 1950s. During the next few decades, the company operated as a subsidiary of Ogden Corporation. The company was one of the first US shipyards to successfully apply modular construction techniques previously perfected by Japanese shipbuilders. Avondale built both military and commercial vessels during the 1980s and these included 27 destroyer escorts for the US Navy. A flurry of vessels were then built during the 1980s including four LSD-CVs, five AOJs, one T-AGS 45, sixteen T-Aos, five LSDs, fifteen LCACs, four MHCs, and three SL 7 conversions.
With a shipbuilding backlog of approximately $1.8 billion as of 1997, most of Avondale’s recent work has been the construction of Navy ships. Naval construction work constitutes about 80% of Avondale’s marine construction and repair business, and in 1997, it received its largest commercial contract ever for the construction of two 125,000 Dead Weight Tons crude oil carriers for the Jones Act Trade.