By Marissa Luck, November 24, 2014, The Daily News
A $50 million expansion of the Temco grain terminal is nearing completion at the Port of Kalama after almost a year of construction. The expansion is expected to double the terminal’s capacity and employment.
“The lease (with Temco) provides a long-term revenue stream to the port to pay for our initial investment and support other economic activities into the future,” said the executive director of the port, Mark Wilson by email. “It also ensures that the jobs at the facility continue long into the future.”
Although the first vessel arrived in mid-November, the terminal is not fully operational because Temco will be performing equipment testing throughout December, said Temco spokeswoman Lani Jordan. Company officials would not provide a firm date for when the terminal will reopen for business.
The grain terminal, built in the 1960s at the south end of the port property near the Todd Road exit off Interstate 5, shut down in January to undergo the expansion.
Jordan said the renovations include a new vessel dock and loading equipment, new rail and barge receiving machinery and upgraded grain cleaners. The improved terminal can handle up to 200 million bushels of grain per year, as much as Temco’s Tacoma terminal, according to the company.
The reopened terminal will boost employment to 120 during the grain-handling season, about double the current staffing, according to the company. Temco is the smaller of the two Kalama grain terminals, accounting for one-quarter — roughly 2.75 million tons — of the Port of Kalama’s 11 million tons of grain exports in 2013, according to the port.
The port invested $7 million to support the Temco expansion by installing 3.6 miles of new railroad track and relocating 1.1 miles of track. Next year, the port expects to collect $3 million in revenue from Temco.
Temco is the latest terminal along the lower Columbia River to expand following the deepening of the river’s main channel, a project that wrapped up in 2010. In 2011, EGT built the first new grain terminal in the United States in 25 years. In 2010, Kalama Export — located on the port’s northern end — spent $36 million to install a new wheat-cleaning system, eight additional grain silos and a loading belt.
Resumption of Temco’s operations means the Port is expecting a 16 percent increase in revenue next year — to $11.6 million, according to final budget approved last week. It’s estimating it will spend $5.1 million on operations, up from $4.8 million in 2014.
Nevertheless, it will spend down its cash reserves — now about $16.9 million — to about $11.25 million to pay for a number of capital improvements. The Port made $21.4 million in capital improvements in 2014 and plans another $17 million in 2015. Some slated for next year include:
• $6.75 million to move two Steelscape warehouses to make room for the Northwest Innovation Works methanol plant at the north end of the port. Another $100,000 will go into a water treatment system to service NW Innovations.
• $1 million for sewer system construction to service Haydu Park near the eastern portion of the port. The new park, which is replacing the Kress field and fairgrounds east of the freeway, is expected to open by summer next year. The port also is allotting $1.5 million to buy additional property in that area.
Next year the port will spend $1.16 million on salaries — an 11.5 percent increase over last year — along with $640,000 on benefits. Finance Manager Stu Shelby said that the port conducts employee reviews in July, so it is not clear who will get raises in 2015.