– by Samantha Wohlfeil, March 20, 2016, Bellingham Herald
Bellingham’s industrial waterfront could become the new site for two companies interested in exporting logs and dried biomass fuel.
Since fall, DKoram of Aberdeen and Bio-Fibre Manufacturing of Mission, B.C., have had an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Port of Bellingham.
The agreement has given the two companies time to study how successful it could be to ship round logs and biomass made from wood and/or plant waste to Asia from the Bellingham Shipping Terminal.
The two companies can be sure the port won’t talk to competing forest product companies through at least late April, but the port is also talking to potential customers in different industries who are interested in the spot in the meantime, said Dan Stahl, the port’s maritime director.
“(Bio-Fibre) have asked for an extension and we are in dialogue with them about their business plan for Bellingham,” Stahl said. “When this is ready, staff will bring this forward for review by the port commission. … I’d also just say this is a small startup company that is doing some very innovative things and we need to have some patience with them.”
Depending on how the feasibility studies go, the companies could ask the port to consider leasing them about 20 acres stretching from the shipping terminal north into the industrial property formerly home to the Georgia-Pacific Corp. pulp and tissue mill.
Products to be shipped
Initially, Bio-Fibre had proposed shipping wood pellets, which can be made from dehydrated and compressed chips, bark, pulp logs, and other waste products from mills and logging practices. The pellets are burned for electricity, often in plants that are shifting away from burning coal.
But since that first announcement, the new company has been leaning toward shipping dehydrated biomass chips, not pellets, said Alicia Sebel, sustainability and marketing manager for Bio-Fibre. The materials would come from logging practice residuals and similarly be burned for fuel.