Ag Processing to expand Washington port

By Ryan C. Christiansen | January 12, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 2, 2009, at 10:58 a.m. CST

Omaha, Neb.-based Ag Processing Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative engaged in the procurement, processing, marketing, and transportation of grains and grain products, has optioned 13.5 acres adjacent to its Aberdeen, Wash., AGPInternational Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 2 rail-to-ship bulk agricultural products transloading station for the purpose of expansion. AGP owns a 52 MMgy ethanol plant in Hastings, Neb. No timeline has been set for the proposed expansion, AGP officials said.

AGP's expansion would include on-site storage silos for grains and additional unloading capacity to service unit trains delivering products from the Midwest, according to Stan Pinnick, president of the Port of Grays Harbor Commission. The expansion will also include warehouses for storing distillers dried grains with solubles and other agricultural products, including soybean meal, corn gluten meal, beet pulp pellets, hay cubes and soil enhancers.

The Grays Harbor terminal received a record number of rail car shipments in 2008 and export tonnage increased 81 percent compared to the most recent four-year average, AGP said. While soybean meal remains the primary product the cooperative ships through the terminal, in 2008, AGP expanded its export commodity mix through the facility by shipping DDGS and also whole soybeans to the Pacific Rim for the first time. The cooperative improved the terminal this past year by installing a cement hatch spout, fabricated by the port's maintenance team, which improves the cooperative's ability to evenly load dry products at the terminal during rainy weather conditions.

"AGP continues to be an excellent shipping partner for Grays Harbor," Pinnick said, "and the port is looking forward to working with them to ensure their expansion plans are successful. AGP's commitment to quality customer service and first-rate facilities has benefited Grays Harbor through the increase in shipping activity and the creation of jobs."

AGP established the Grays Harbor terminal five years ago and since then has shipped more than 2 million metric tons of product from there to markets throughout the Pacific Rim.

"The Port of Grays Harbor is an integral part of AGP's international marketing plan, as evidenced by the high volume of agricultural products we ship through the port," said Marty Reagan, chief executive officer and general manager of AGP. "Our strategic plan includes the continued development of Pacific Rim markets. Accordingly, we have requested this option as we continue to study the markets and economics of further developing our shipping capabilities at the Port of Grays Harbor."

AGP has shipped more than 2 million metric tons of cargo aboard 117 vessels in Grays Harbor. Upon completion, the planned expansion could generate an additional 30 vessel calls per year providing 50 new marine-related jobs.

The Port of Grays Harbor is the only deepwater port on the Pacific Coast in the state of Washington. It has more than 400 acres of industrial property and operates four marine terminals.