By Erik Olson, July 17, 2013, Longview Daily News
Port of Longview officials want to buy an $850,000 log stacker to help keep up with the booming log export business.
Commissioners approved Tuesday a request to seek bids for the used stacker, which would replace two older machines that need expensive repairs. Port officials said they have been using replacement stackers to fill the gaps, but they worry they could lose business without another stacker.
“We’re facing a dilemma, at some point, of not having enough machines to service our customers,” Doug Averett, the port’s director of operations, told commissioners at their business meeting.
Averett added that the new stacker could also be used to unload other cargo, such as wind-energy equipment. The port currently has four log stackers, and officials say they hope to start using the new one by late summer.
A log stacker resembles a large fork lift, but with claw-like grippers. Operators use the flexible boom to grab logs from delivery trucks, then haul them over to log piles for storage.
Port CEO Geir Kalhagen said the port has enough money in its budget to make the purchase because port commissioners recently decided to hold off on building a new warehouse.
Over the past three years, log exports have experienced a resurgence at the Port of Longview, largely to supply China’s growing construction industry.
Through June, workers at the port exported 472,576 metric tons of logs in 2013, about 85 percent than the amount exported during the same period the previous year.