Kalama Port Officials say Grain Export
by Erik Olson
The Port of Kalama's largest grain exporter will create 180 construction jobs and boost business by 25 percent during a massive expansion starting within the month, the company announced Wednesday.
Kalama Export LLC officials said they plan to build a new wheat cleaning system, eight additional grain silos and a loading belt. The project, expected to cost about $36 million, will add 21,000 metric tons of grain storage capacity to the terminal at the north end of port on North Hendrickson Drive, according to Kalama Export and port officials.
The port first announced the expansion in December.
Kalama Export hired Ken Bratney Co., based in Des Moines, Iowa, as the general contractor. The company also hired the Minnesota-based McCormick Construction Company and Portland-based Oregon Electric Group to work on the project.
Kalama Export is looking to capture a bigger share of the wheat and soybean markets, which are expected to grow in Japan and China, port officials said. The silos will also hold wheat, according to Kalama Export.
"We are pleased to be further expanding our facility's capacity to meet the growing demand for grain in Asia," Kalama Export spokesman Patrick Bryan said in a written statement.
Kalama Export is a joint venture owned by Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland Co., Gavilon Grain LLC and Agrex Inc., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp.
Last year, the company exported 7.1 million metric tons of grain, mostly to Asian countries. Kalama Export accounted for about one-quarter of all Pacific Northwest grain exports in 2009.
Kalama Export accounted for about two-thirds of the Port of Kalama's $3.4 million in revenue from grain exports last year. The remaining third of the port's grain export revenue came from United Harvest LLC, which is expanding its rail lines to offload grain more quickly.
The Kalama terminals are expanding as Portland-based EGT Development LLC is building a $200 million grain terminal at the Port of Longview. The terminal, expected to go online next year, can store up to 130,000 metric tons of grain at one time. Annually, the EGT terminal would add 8 million metric tons of transport capacity to the Columbia River system.
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