By Marqise Allen, January 22, 2013, Longview Daily News
A tug and barge company plans to base a quarter-acre-sized floating dock at the Port of Kalama to help it move grain more efficiently to the EGT and Kalama Export Co. grain terminals on the Columbia River.
The floating dock is known as a spud barge because it is anchored in place by steel pipes — spuds — that are dropped vertically into the river bed. It will be used as a kind of depot to tie up grain barges and save travel time to Vancouver to pick up fresh loads, Carol Bua, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver-based Tidewater tug and barge firm, said Tuesday.
“The purpose is to moor our grain barges, to be more responsive to customers and to get in and out quicker,” Bua said.
The spud barge, measuring 230 feet long and 43 feet wide, will be big enough to tie up four grain barges. It will be moved from another location and will not create any additional employment locally, Bua said.
However, Tidewater will pay a still-to-be negotiated fee to the Port of Kalama to lease the aquatics land where the spud barge will be based.
Tidewater officials were unable to provide the total cost of the project.
Port commissioners are waiting for Tidewater to advance the permitting process before deciding on a lease, said Liz Newman, spokeswoman for the port. Brian Perleberg, principal and senior biologist for Northern Resource Consulting, which is handling permitting for the project, said Tidewater should obtain all permits for the project within the next three months.