Rolling on the River

Life For Tyres choosing Globalplex as the site for its first U.S. facility aligns with the Port of South Louisiana’s mission to increase job opportunities in environmentally sustainable industries.

Life For Tyres, a revolutionary, state-of-the-art European eco-friendly upcycling industry leader, researched, cultivated, and ultimately patented a complex answer for a tricky but elementary question: What do you do with old tires?

For the company, the answer is simple. Give them a second life by turning them into something else through environmentally-friendly methods.

Subscribing to a “circular economic business model,” Life For Tyres transforms discarded rubber from vehicle tires into top-of-the-line high-alloy steel, advanced biofuels, and black recovered carbon through environmentally-sustainable methods.

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After proving its alternative manufacturing processes and second-generation commodities could meet the needs of various industries in Europe, Life For Tyres recently announced it will expand operations and open its first U.S. facility at the Port of South Louisiana’s Globalplex facility. Once operational, the 10-acre Life For Tyres plant will create 46 direct jobs in the River Parishes and 151 indirect jobs throughout the region, according to Louisiana Economic Development.

Life For Tyres announced it will invest $46 million toward the construction of its U.S. facility.

“They looked at Louisiana and ultimately chose Louisiana because of the proximity to the offtake where the end commodity would go — the refineries and chemical companies along the (Mississippi) River,” said Danny Ford, a local consultant for Life For Tyres. “Location was a positive working in the Port’s favor. Also, Louisiana has a bit of a tire problem. You can ride around any road and take a look. And if you’re running a company reliant on waste tires for feedstock, it’s advantageous to establish operations in a place that’s equal distance from the major population centers of the state: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the Northshore, Terrebonne/Lafourche.

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Ford said the Port fit all the criteria of what the company was looking for.

In that same spirit, attracting a young (Life For Tyres was founded in 2017), innovative, non-traditional manufacturer to establish its initial North American footprint at Globalplex fits perfectly with the Port of South Louisiana’s proactive and strategic approach toward diversifying its catalog of tenants while serving the needs of its long-established partners.

Seeking to stay several steps ahead of industry trends and a rapidly evolving global maritime marketplace, PSLA CEO Paul Matthews has positioned the Port to be a cutting-edge leader when it comes to the looming “Energy Transition Process,” establishing the framework so that existing companies within the Port District can reap the financial and environmental benefits of alternative fuel sources and “remade” raw materials produced by manufacturers — like Life For Tyres.

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“At the Port of South Louisiana, we have made environmental sustainability a pillar in our mission as we seek private investments that not only create jobs for River Region families, but are also safe for our community,” Matthews said in an LED press release. “The first of its kind in the nation, Life For Tyres Louisiana will be a world-class, carbon positive facility where Louisiana’s workers will produce high-quality totally sustainable commodities. This project will be a welcome addition to Globalplex, making it a greener and more efficient facility with room to grow.”

Like many great innovations, Life For Tyres’ patented process for converting waste tires into an array of second-generation industrial products arose from a dire necessity. It was a solution to a problem.

Prior to Life For Tyres’ formation, less than 15 percent of discarded car and truck tires in Europe were recycled and reused, an alarming ratio. After 10 years of research and trial phases, Life For Tyres finalized its unique depolymerization process — a system that made converting waste tires profitable while simultaneously reducing up to 90 percent of greenhouse gas impact compared to outdated forms of tire recycling.

And Life For Tyres’ environmental consciousness applies to all phases of its operation, not just the manufacturing process. With that top of mind, the Port of South Louisiana’s vast intermodal infrastructure — specifically rail and barge — offered Life For Tyres economical and green ways to receive discarded tires and send out reimaged, upcycled commodities, which was a major selling point when deciding where to establish its initial U.S. operation.

According to statistics from the American Association of Railroads, despite rail accounting for 40 percent of long-distance freight volume, it’s only responsible for 1.9 percent of U.S. transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, maritime cargo transit leaves a minimal carbon footprint and requires substantially less energy to move product per ton-mile than trucks or rail.

Port and state officials also presented Life For Tyres leadership a competitive incentives package if the company chose to establish operations in the River Parishes. Inside that package was inclusion in Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption, “Quality Jobs Rebate” program, and a $1 million reimbursement grant for site improvements. Additionally, Life For Tyres will be able to lean upon the Louisiana Economic Development’s “LED FastStart” program — a multi-layered employee development initiative that trains people based on the specific workforce needs of the employer — once the staffing process begins.

“Louisiana’s skilled and diverse workforce, advanced manufacturing expertise and interconnected industrial infrastructure make for a compelling value proposition for companies seeking to reduce risk and maximize return on investment when entering a new market,” said Patricia Murret, LED’s Deputy Press Secretary. “By locating this plant in Louisiana, Life for Tyres is allowing the state to take another step forward in creating new opportunities in its existing energy and manufacturing sectors by serving the growing market for sustainable energy.”

Currently, assuming the various phases of environmental assessments aren’t delayed, representatives at Life For Tyres predict the new plant along the Mississippi River could be finished, staffed, and operational by the beginning of 2026. By the end of that same year, Life For Tyres plans to have eight total tire upcycling plants in operation throughout the world.

“Life For Tyres has developed technology capable of producing sustainable commodities that our industries need, especially with the changes in the global market as it pertains to carbon regulations,” Ford said. “I think it’s a perfect fit in proximity to the Port and I think (Life For Tyres) is a good example of a company that will an ideal long-term partner with the Port of South Louisiana and the entire region.”

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