eNews • October 5, 2012
Promoting a Cost-Effective, Reliable and Competitive Transportation System

Soy Transportation Coalition officials, soybean partners celebrate AGP’s expanded facility at Grays Harbor

 

When a unique set of partners gathered in Aberdeen, Washington, on September 13, for the grand opening of Ag Processing Inc.’s (AGP’s) expanded facility at the Port of Gray’s Harbor, the celebration marked a win-win situation for all who were represented: for the local community, many of whose officials were on hand; for AGP; for Pacific Rim customers; and for Midwest farmers, represented by soybean leaders from six states.  Soy Transportation Coalition board members Jerry Wyse (Kansas), Joel Schreurs (Minnesota), Richard Bartek (Nebraska), and executive director Mike Steenhoek were also on hand to participate in the grand opening.

The event celebrated the completed construction of AGP’s new 3 million-bushel port terminal elevator, a concrete structure consisting of eight 350,000-bushel storage tanks and four 80,000-bushel shipping bins. The facility’s grain handling equipment has a capacity of 60,000 bushel s per hour.

Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson familiarized the group with the Port’s strategic location, just 1½ hours from the Pacific Ocean and closer to Asian customers than any other terminal in the Pacific Northwest.  Frequent destinations are the Philippines, Malaysia and China.

Shipping soybeans from Grays Harbor to China takes 18 days, compared to the 35 that it would take to travel from the Gulf of Mexico, or the 45 days it takes soybeans to reach China from Brazil, thus saving considerably on transportation costs.

AGPs newly constructed storage facility is aimed to further speed up the process by expediting the loading of ships.  The goal is to have enough product on hand to load a full vessel with 50,000 to 55,000 tons when a ship arrives.

AGP Director of International Trade Chris Schaffer says, “This storage is tremendous for us. Previously, we had room for 400-500 train cars and the train had to stay until it was unloaded directly on a ship. Now trains are always coming and going.”

It’s a story of the success that can result from private-public partnership. Since 2007, more than $200 million in private investments have been made in the port, with public funds of another $30-40 million. For example, as AGP spent $70 million on silos, the publicly owned Port invested in $18 million on rail improvements.

Construction on the terminal began in August 2010, and the facility began receiving grain in December 2011.

General contractor for the project was Todd & Sargent, Inc., from Ames, Iowa. Two silos went up at a time, adding 12-15 inches an hour, with crews moving the forms up as they did a continuous pour, finishing two silos in 5.5 days.

Meanwhile, the Port of Grays Harbor invested in a second loop and additional track to make it possible for the AGP terminal to handle 400-600 covered hopper cars a week.

Port of Grays Harbor Deputy Executive Director Leonard Barnes, who is also Chamber president, expresses appreciation for what AGP has brought to his community. “AGP is our premier partner and awesome to work with. It’s interesting to think how we’re connected to both growers and buyers. We’re all partners.”

Schaffer, who manages AGP exports at the Port, echoed the sentiment. “We have an excellent relationship with the port management. Work happens seamlessly between the Port and AGP.”

Soy Transportation Coalition board member Jerry Wyse said, “When we focus on infrastructure and invest in infrastructure, as AGP has here, it raises all boats. They’re a living example that, even in a bad economy, when you make a long-term investment by building infrastructure, and in the process, build relationships and establish communications, customers recognize that. You’re a dependable supplier and you become the supplier of choice. That’s what AGP has done and that is exciting and encouraging.”

 


The Soy Transportation Coalition is comprised of thirteen state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board. The National Grain and Feed Association and the National Oilseed Processors Association serve as ex-officio members of the organization.

Soy Transportation Coalition
1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy., Ankeny, Iowa 50023
Phone: (515) 727-0665 Fax (515) 251-8657
Email msteenhoek@soytransportation.org
Web www.soytransportation.org

Funded by the Soybean Checkoff