Friday, August 31, 2012

Port of Longview Rebounds with Strong 2nd Quarter

The opening of the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview’s Berth 9 is already paying off for the port, and in a big way.

Longview, which lost about $165,000 the first three months of 2012, rebounded to finish the first half of the year with $3 million in net income, thanks in large part to the EGT facility, which opened for business in February.

“It’s certainly the strongest second-quarter performance I’ve seen,” port Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren said Aug. 24. O’Hollaren, who joined the port in 1980, retires at the end of the year.

Exports of grain, imports of calcined coke and imports of new wind energy equipment were the main cargos contributing to the financial resurgence, according to the port.

Since February, EGT has exported 1.3 million tons of wheat, soybeans and corn gluten meal, according to the port. Also, the port handled 2,000 tons of wind energy cargo imports from April to June; in 2011, no wind energy cargo passed through the port.

EGT officials say that at full capacity, the terminal will export between eight and nine million tons of grain annually and generate $5 million to $8 million in shipping revenue for the port. EGT spokesman Matthew Beck has previously said the company expects to load 150 to 200 ships annually bound for Asia.

Up until late January, a prolonged labor dispute was ongoing between EGT and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21, stemming from the company using the services of a union other than the ILWU at the terminal. The port’s three-member commission ratified a settlement giving the ILWU control over the grain handling union jobs Jan. 27.

EGT is a $200 million joint venture between Bunge Ltd, ITOCHU International and STX Pan Ocean. Berth 9 was the first export grain terminal built in the United States in over 25 years.