Lincoln County Commissioners got the “Big Bang” overview from the Port of Newport Wednesday as Port Commission Chairman Walter Chuck and Port Manager Kevin Greenwood announced that after a lot of scrambling they finally have the full $6.5 million dollars to finish building the new Newport International Terminal which will also trigger an industrial park just to the east on the Hall property, next to the big LNG tank.
Greenwood laid out the financial plan which was made possible by Sylvan Forest Products based out of Washington State. Sylvan will kick in the final $2.5 million to finish building and outfitting the new terminal. Once in operation, Sylvan will ship mainly Hemlock and Spruce logs, not prized Douglas Fir, which will remain in the U.S. to be turned into finished lumber products. That way the local mills will be kept busy and the port can ship finished lumber goods to U.S. and world markets as well as raw spruce and hemlock.
So the port will be paying off two loans – $2 million to the state and $2.5 million to Sylvan – but in Sylvan’s case the port won’t charge Sylvan full shipping tariffs so the port will “credit out” their loan – probably within 50 shipments.
But the other half of the customer list for the terminal is, of course, the deep water fishing fleet which needs servicing and maintenance as well as possibly benefiting from cost savings on how they handle their whiting catches and other species. There’s been a lot of talk about providing expanded refrigeration services for the fleet so they don’t have to sail all the way north to Seattle or Vancouver to unload their catches. If they can unload in Newport, they can stay out at sea longer and augment their catches and therewith their income.
Greenwood and Chuck also mentioned again that additional port revenues could be generated by shipping finished lumber products by barge to California. After the barges drop off their cargo they could then be re-loaded with California recycled cardboard and then shipped back up to Georgia Pacific in Toledo for reprocessing. Chuck also raised the possibility of income from wood pulp being dried into bricks or sheets and then shipped to Asian markets.
Again, the Newport International Terminal will become a very busy place. Presumed terminal operator Teevin Brothers will finally be able to install their huge loading cranes and other handling equipment.
But the port will also have to coordinate access to the terminal, between the big ships coming and going, as well as the deep water fishing fleet – making sure everybody gets what they need, when they need it. That’s where the Port’s Users Committee will be acting like air traffic controllers at an airport – except in this case, on water. Chuck and Greenwood say the users committee, in cooperation with port staff, will work out those scheduling details as is done at all busy ports world-wide. Representatives from the deep water fleet and shipping industries will be on the committee as well as stevedores and longshoremen, lease holders, the Trident Meal plant, industry support services, the Coast Guard, Customs and members of the public. They’ll all formulate the logistics to ensure all the work gets done on time throughout the year.
Greenwood says all the funding agreements and user contracts will be drawn up which will hopefully produce a big ribbon cutting date in the not-too-distant near future. More well paying jobs for Lincoln County, which we sure could use!
Greenwood tells News Lincoln County that groundbreaking on the project will likely be next winter.