New Terminal Offers Opportunityby Matthew Weaver
Capital Press, January 19, 2012
EGT executive 'excited about this project,' eager to talk to growers
Larry Clarke is looking forward to telling producers about the opportunities the new Longview, Wash., grain terminal presents.
He said he wants more people to learn about the company, EGT, and its capabilities.
"I really want them to be as excited about this project as I am," he told the Capital Press.
The chief executive of EGT, Clarke will address the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum main session from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Salon IV at the DoubleTree Hotel. It is sponsored by the Washington Grain Alliance. Weatherman Art Douglas will also speak at the session.
Clarke hopes to convey EGT's plans for its new grain terminal at Longview, which opened in 2011.
The $200 million facility is the first of its kind to be built in roughly 30 years. It has 36 concrete silos, including five shipping bins and six bins capable of holding soybean meal and distillers grain. The facility holds 4.7 million bushels of grain.
The state of the art facility brings additional export capacity to the Columbia River and West Coast, Clarke said. It also allows the company to provide Northwest and Midwest growers with additional marketing opportunities.
"We feel like the more opportunities from a capacity kind of view, they should be able to move their product at a higher, more competitive rate than the rest of the world," Clarke said.
In addition to the train deliveries already taking place, Clarke said the company hopes to bring in a vessel after the first of the year to test shiploading capabilities.
"We'll be ready to start loading and get moving," he said.
EGT has three facilities under construction in Montana that will work directly with the farm community, Clarke said, as well as other elevators in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest.
Since it opened, the terminal has been embroiled in a labor dispute. The Port of Longview says it has a "working agreement" that obligates EGT to hire International Longshore Workers Union workers. EGT argues its lease agreement with the Port of Longview doesn't require the company to employ ILWU members.
The company has a contract with General Construction providing the labor from the International Operating Engineers Union.
Discussions with the longshoremen "did not bear fruit," Clarke said, so the company decided to move on with another labor source.
Clarke declined to comment further. He plans to address the situation during his presentation.
"I will be as open to answering questions as I can be," he said.
"We've got a great story, a wonderful facility in Longview, we've got three new facilities in the interior, we're providing a pipeline from the farm community to Asia."
Bunge, which owns and operates facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, is the majority shareholder of EGT. Itochu, a Japanese trading company, and STX/Pan Ocean, a bulk food carrier operating in Asia, are the other partners.
"While EGT is a new company, the partners have been in existence for almost 200 years," Clarke said. "We have strong parents and therefore we are a strong company. Hopefully through service and efficiencies, we can capture (farmers') business."
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