Submitted by: The Port of Bellingham
The Bellingham Shipping Terminal is set to receive its first regular cargo shipment in over 17 years. The 590-foot MV Diana Bolten is scheduled arrive on September 28 loaded with 10,700 metric tons of organic corn and soybeans destined for local markets.
“The Bellingham Shipping Terminal is open for business,” said Port Commission President Dan Robbins. “The Port has made significant investments to modernize this job-creating facility and bring back working waterfront jobs which were lost when Georgia-Pacific shut down its pulp and paper mill. We are excited to welcome the MV Diana Bolten to our Port and look forward to regular shipping activity in the years to come.”
Local longshore union (ILWU) workers will offload the organic corn and soybeans for temporary storage in the Shipping Terminal warehouses. Sunrise Foods will distribute the grains to producers of organic livestock in northwest Washington and southern British Columbia for use as animal feed.
“There has been a surge of organic grain imports over the past several years due to strong demand from American consumers,” said Port Marine Terminals Business Development Manager Chris Clark. “The Port Commission’s commitment towards modernizing the Shipping Terminal along with strong support from our local ILWU has been critical towards making this facility a cost-effective and convenient gateway for international commerce. Consumer demand for organic foods is expected to continue growing rapidly in the U.S. and we are hoping to secure additional contracts to move organic grains and other commodities over our docks in the coming years.”
The organic corn and soybeans were shipped from Turkey, one of the largest exporters of organic products to the United States. The MV Diana Bolten is currently in the North Atlantic Ocean and scheduled to enter the Panama Canal on or around September 12.
In 2016, Turkey, Mexico, Italy, Peru and Ecuador supplied 43 percent of tracked U.S. organic imports.
The Port has recently made significant capital investments to the Bellingham Shipping Terminal to encourage new business. At its last meeting, the Port Commission authorized a rental agreement, with the option to purchase, equipment necessary to load and unload grain and other bulk commodities. Over the summer, the Port completed a $500,000 project to replace the roof on Warehouse 2 allowing the facility to be certified for the storage of organic grains. Other recent improvements include a new bulkhead, up-to-date stormwater and power systems, and the clean-up of historic contamination from the Whatcom Waterway.
The Bellingham Shipping Terminal is a full-service marine terminal with the flexibility to meet a diverse range of business needs. Terminal assets include 1,250 feet of dock space on a deep water pier, a 550 foot barge pier, 85,000 square feet of covered storage, 40 acres of available land and access to resources via rail, barge, rafts, trucks, containers and ocean-going vessels.
The Port of Bellingham was established in 1920. Throughout Whatcom County, the Port owns, operates and maintains approximately 1600 acres of property including a shipping terminal, a cruise terminal, two marinas, industrial development areas, commercial uplands, parklands, shoreline public access areas and an international airport.