Friday, October 4, 2013

Saltchuck Buying Ex Kimberly-Clark Mill Site

Seattle-based shipping and logistics, air cargo, marine and trucking services company Saltchuk Resources has signed a purchase and sales agreement with Kimberly-Clark to buy a 66-acre property on the Everett waterfront, formerly home to Kimberly-Clark’s pulp mill and tissue plant.

Saltchuk, which employs 6,500 people nationwide, including 800 in the Puget Sound region, is the parent company of Foss Maritime Co. Saltchuk also owns Tacoma-based shipping company Totem Ocean Trailer Express, and Interstate Distributor, a national trucking company.

The existing Foss Maritime yard in Seattle, located inside the Ballard Locks, is not accessible to larger ships and is too small for future expansion, something that made the larger, saltwater site in Everett an attractive long-term option, Saltchuk Chairman Mark Tabbutt noted.

“We see tremendous opportunity and potential for further growth at the Everett site, a deep water port with unrestricted waterways,” Tabbutt said in a statement. “And we believe the redevelopment of this site as a shipyard and maritime complex will contribute a vital economic base to the Everett community.”

The planned sale price has yet to be disclosed. Also, work remains to be done to close the deal. The purchase and sales agreement calls for a four-month due diligence period, followed by adequate time to close the transaction. If all goes as planned, the sale could close early in the second quarter of 2014.

Saltchuk says it plans to develop a site plan for the property as well as working with local, state and federal officials to determine the permits required to develop the site in a way that fits its needs.

“We are very excited to have a successful, thriving maritime company choose Everett to be its new shipbuilding headquarters,” Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said. “Foss Maritime ... will be a tremendous asset to the community and redevelopment of the site will generate additional opportunities in the future.”

Unsafe levels of petroleum, dioxins and other unsafe substances have been previously found in the waterway next to the mill site. Kimberly-Clark says it expects to continue cleaning up the former plant, which closed in April 2012, and hopes to further accelerate its work with the Department of Ecology to develop the final remediation plan for the site.

“We are pleased that Saltchuk emerged as the successful bidder because they are the type of prospect we were hoping to attract,” Kimberly-Clark real estate director Len Anderson said, “a well-respected company that will bring jobs and economic vitality back to that section of the Everett waterfront.”

Work on current Foss shipbuilding projects in Seattle is expected to continue at the current location over the next several years. The headquarters offices for Saltchuk and Foss Maritime are expected to remain in Seattle.