Metal Shark Expands Shipbuilding in Louisiana
Metal Shark, a builder of specialized welded aluminum vessels for defense, law enforcement, and commercial operators, reports it is expanding its operations in Louisiana. This comes after the news earlier in the week that the company had divested of its Alabama-based ship refit and repair business to Birdon America.
The company is adding production capacity with the opening of a third Louisiana location, a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Iberia Parish. According to Metal Shark, combined with its nearby facilities in Jeanerette and Franklin, the company now has nearly 200,000 square feet of enclosed manufacturing space spread across 35 acres and employs nearly 400 people.
“Birdon America put forth an offer that made good business sense for us while providing long-term opportunities for our Alabama team members,” said Chris Allard, CEO of Metal Shark. “With the sale of our refit and repair business and steel boat building operations now concluded, we are refocusing our energies and doubling down on our core business: the design and construction of durable, high-performance, manned and autonomous welded aluminum vessels.”
Metal Shark reports it is aggressively recruiting to expand its workforce across all its Louisiana facilities to meet its strong order backlog. The company is currently hiring for all production trades and is also recruiting naval architects, project coordinators, and project engineers.
This week Metal Shark launched a new US Navy near coastal patrol vessel
“As a diversified builder, at any given time we’re producing boats for customers across a range of markets including U.S. and foreign military forces, state and local law enforcement agencies and fire departments, and numerous commercial markets including pilot groups, passenger vessel operators, and the offshore wind industry,” said Allard. “Our new Avery Island facility will reduce lead times for vessels that lie outside our mainstream production mix, with an experienced crew of boat building professionals specializing in custom rigging and production efficiency.”
The builder highlights that it has retained a portion of its Alabama waterfront to support ongoing training, trials, and autonomous testing. In addition to continuing research, design, and testing in Alabama, Metal Shak has a dedicated engineering facility in Croatia. The company reports its customers include U.S. and foreign militaries, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, passenger vessel operators, pilot associations, and other clients worldwide.