With the dramatic slow-down in the Asian log buying market, Port of Newport Commissioners are trying a new approach to jump start their new International Terminal.
Although Teevin Brothers out of Rainier hasn’t found a partner to finance what’s called the “next step” for the terminal, a big “lay down yard,” the port and Teevin have agreed to team up themselves in getting the project going.
The “first step” in the first step was agreeing that Teevin will have a 19 month lease-option, through 2016, to get things rolling on the lay-down area’s 9 acres of asphalt and a storm water management system. As to how the $5.5 million dollar upgrade to the terminal will be paid for, it’s going to be from economic development grants – both federal and state.
Port Manager Kevin Greenwood says he and his staff will be very busy over the next year-and-a-half to two years applying for those grants which will also help pay for a new sewer and water system, mitigate more wetland displacement and transportation accommodations.
Once that’s built and ready for international commerce, the terminal will need some large loaders to get farm products, industrial equipment, finished lumber and other export goods bound for points around the world. The idea is that Teevin, as a broker/terminal operator, would step in and help complete the program.
Greenwood says it may not be clear to many residents, but port offices usually don’t do the actual work of the port. The Port Commission maintains the port facilities in good order but the actual working of the equipment and dock areas are run by private businesses – sort of like work brokers – to recruit companies that need their goods and services shipped overseas. He said Teevin exports logs but also a wide variety of other goods and services through their facilities on the Columbia River – now soon to be expanded through the Port of Newport. And with the completion of the Highway 20 project, truck transport to and from the International Terminal should pick-up considerably.
So the next step is to get the lay-down area built, the utilities in and Teevin on board with their contribution and within two to three years the terminal ought to be humming with work. At least that’s the plan. Greenwood characterized the likelihood of getting most or all of the grants they’ll need as “very likely,” but quickly adding that it’ll take a lot of work to make it happen.
In the meantime, Greenwood says the International Terminal will be used by some of the Alaskan fishing fleet for renovations and upgrade work, periodic services for oceanographic vessels associated with Hatfield Marine Science Center, occasional “one-offs” as they’re called – boat repairs and other projects. So it will continue to grow and provide income to the port.