Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coos Bay Port Ends Bulk Export Facility Talks

The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay says it has ended an exclusive negotiating agreement between it and Metropolitan Stevedoring Co. regarding development of a bulk export facility, principally for the export of thermal coal and biomass.

The port had entered into the original agreement with Metropolitan, commonly known as Metro Ports, in October 2011 to allow the company and its partners, known as Project Mainstay, to engage in research related to the export facility concept.

Over the past year and a half, the port extended the exclusive negotiating agreement several times to allow Project Mainstay to pursue an evaluation of the current and potential capacity of the Coos Bay rail line and projected terminal development costs.

However, the agreement expired March 31 and was not renewed.

Port staff say they intend to begin internal discussions about import/export cargo development opportunities for port-owned industrial property and that the port could eventually bring the discussion forward later this year to the port commission for solicitation of proposals to explore a broad range of marine cargo opportunities.

“The port is moving on to the next phase,” Coos Bay CEO David Koch explained. “We will focus on pursuing a viable maritime development project that can capitalize on the Coos Bay harbor’s unique characteristics – developable land, an extremely short transit to Pacific trade routes and an experienced maritime labor force.”

The port went through a solicitation process vetting prospective developers of port-controlled industrial property in August 2011 before reaching the agreement with Metro Ports that October.

Two other players in the deal, Mitsui and Korean Electric Power Corp., pulled out earlier in 2013.
The Metro Ports project was one of numerous coal export plans in Washington State that had been under consideration, but is the second to be called off. In 2012, RailAmerica backed out of plans to build a coal storage and export facility at the Port of Grays Harbor.