The Newport Port Commission was told Tuesday evening that things are coming together to begin log exports to Asia perhaps as early as May. Alcan Timber has established a log processing yard in Toledo that is capable of debarking logs, cut from local forests, before they are brought to the Port of Newport’s new International Terminal. There, the logs will be loaded aboard ships destined for Asia.
As for the other timber company using the terminal for log exports, Teevin Brothers of Ranier, OR, they are still finalizing their formal configuration of log loading operations. Once those plans are finalized they too will begin loading their own logs onto ships bound for the Orient.
But those loads, like Alcan’s, will be, for the moment, half-loads because the large Handymen ships, when fully loaded, require 35 (corrected) feet of depth, something that doesn’t yet exist right off the terminal. The Army Corps of Engineers is awaiting paperwork from the port that includes Teevin Brothers’ final plans for their operations before the corps can justify further dredging the bay bottom, next to the terminal.
Once the plans are filed, the next step would be to find an area that compensates, or makes up for the loss of bay bottom habitat that the deeper draft ships will destroy through the deeper dredging.
To take care of that part, Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says the port has found some potential wildlife and fish habitat across the river from the terminal, behind the Oregon Coast Aquarium. There is an old logging pond behind the facility that could become very productive salmon rearing habitat if it got enough tidal flows. Greenwood said that enhanced flow could be provided by a greatly enlarged culvert that connects the bay with the logging pond. Once that enlarged culvert is installed, the International Terminal should be “good to go.”
Greenwood says all this will be unfolding over the next couple of months.