Teevin Brothers General Manager Eric Oien told News Lincoln County Monday that their log export operations are still committed to Newport and to the port’s recently renovated International Terminal. The port certainly needs income from terminal operations to pay off the loan that made the terminal clean up and renovation possible.
However, an economic trend on the other side of the Pacific has forced Teevin to pull its foot off the gas pedal on how big of a log export operation it may have for the near future. Teevin Brothers General Manager Eric Oien says an economic slow down in China has greatly reduced log orders and it’s prompted one of their major partners in the log yard operations to ratchet back their financial involvement. Oien said Hancock Timber still wants to ship logs to the Orient through Newport, but Teevin will have to seek new partners if the log yard operation itself is to grow to the size first envisioned. He says, it may take some time to get there, but they will.
If Teevin is able to secure an alternate tenant before summer, Oien says Teevin will begin construction on a scaled down log yard next Spring with log shipments beginning in late summer/early fall of next year. As for how many ships a year will be calling on the International Terminal, that’s not yet known. Oien says they’re talking to a number of large Central Coast timberland owners who have expressed an interest in becoming part of the enterprise.
Meanwhile, the slowdown in the Chinese log market has caused Port of Newport officials to run up the yellow flag on their plans to build a new million dollar port administration building. Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says due to the Asian slow down in log buying, the port may not receive the amount of income originally envisioned from the log operations to help pay for the new administration building. Construction was expected to begin next year.
International financial reports cites Chinese concerns about their overall national economic slow down from above ten percent a year down to less than 8%. It’s prompted the Chinese to recalibrate their government’s economic stimulus strategy and for the moment, they’re putting various sectors of their economy on “pause.” But with their stern commitment to expand the ranks of their middle class, faster economic growth (which would certainly involve stepped up log purchasing) is likely to resume sooner than later, according to a number of international business news reports.