Friday, May 2, 2014

Saltchuk Land Purchase Deal Falls Through

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based shipping and logistics company Saltchuk Resources has terminated a purchase and sales agreement with Kimberly-Clark for the purchase of a 66-acre property on the Everett waterfront, the company revealed April 30.

The location, formerly home to Kimberly-Clark’s pulp mill and tissue plant, was potentially going to be developed by Saltchuk into a new shipyard for its Foss Maritime subsidiary. The existing Foss Maritime yard in Seattle, located inside the Ballard Locks, isn’t accessible to larger ships and is too small for future expansion, something that initially made the larger, saltwater site in Everett an attractive long-term option.

However, the purchase agreement fell apart over environmental concerns with the land. Unsafe levels of petroleum, dioxins and other unsafe substances had been previously found in the waterway next to the mill site. Kimberly-Clark had previously said it expected to continue cleaning up the former plant, which closed in April 2012, and hoped to further accelerate its work with the Department of Ecology to develop the final remediation plan for the site.

“Despite the fact both sides worked diligently, they were unable to agree on the allocation of risks and responsibilities related to certain soil stability, seismic and environmental conditions as they relate to Saltchuk’s proposed use of the property as a ship yard and terminal,” a statement issued by Saltchuk regarding the matter said in part.

With the sale and purchase agreement falling through, work on current Foss shipbuilding projects in Seattle is expected to continue at the current location for at least the next several years, according to the company.