Things appear to be shaking out a little more clearly on upcoming log exports using the Port of Newport’s new International Terminal. An Alcan Forest Products official attending Monday’s noontime port meeting commented that depending on log prices they could be loading ships at the terminal as early as June. However, those log loads would be limited to half-loads because the water depth next to the terminal and access to the river channel isn’t deep enough yet to accommodate a fully loaded ship. But for now, he said, they’ll load half-loads in Newport and then stop in Astoria or Longview and fill up their ships the rest of the way.
Meanwhile a log exporter that works with Teevin Brothers indicates that they don’t consider half-loads to be economically workable under their business model. He said Teevin will be building their new log handling yard just east of the terminal over the summer and fall so as to be ready to ship full loads around the first of the year. By then the port will have secured deeper dredging along the terminal and a path to the shipping channel. The only thing holding up the dredging has been finding a spot on the river, or in the bay, to create more fish habitat to compensate for the loss of habitat by taking out three feet of river bottom along side the terminal.
A proposed mitigation area is located on the south side of the river, immediately behind the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The port is proposing to install a larger culvert between the bay and an estuary just on the other side of SE 35th. As soon as that mitigation plan is approved, Teevin Brothers is expected to begin building a multi-million dollar log handling yard on ground immediately east of the terminal, again with log shipments to commence by the first of the year.