North Bend, Ore. – Log exports to Pacific Rim customers soon will be conducted from Ko-Kwel Wharf under a joint venture agreement between the Coquille Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO) and Knutson Towboat Company.
Nearly a year in development, the new venture, K2 Exports, LLC, will help increase the use of Coos Bay for international commerce while also improving access to export opportunities for area timber companies seeking to reach Asian markets.
“Our new venture comes as a direct response to an ever-changing global market for Oregon logs,” said CEDCO Executive Director for Development Greg Aldridge. “Through this cooperative effort we can help connect overseas buyers with local suppliers and ensure that the transactions are handled quickly and efficiently through our facilities.”
“Reopening an export terminal also increases ship traffic to the Port of Coos Bay and helps build our local reputation for international trade,” he added. “Ever since the Coquille Tribe purchased the wharf property in North Bend, local residents stressed the importance of Coos Bay as a cargo port and have encouraged us to preserve the property’s tradition as a shipping terminal.”
Aldridge noted that increasing ship calls to Coos Bay also ensures continued federal spending on dredging and waterway improvements.
While the project adds diversity to the Coquille Tribe’s business holdings, it also fits in with the Tribe’s focus of forestry and forest products – a focus that includes Tribal management of 5,400 acres of forestland certified as environmentally sound by the Forest Stewardship Council. According to Coquille Tribal Chairperson Brenda Meade, the project is another example of the Tribe’s central position in the regional economy.
“By further supporting the region’s forest products industry, this project creates opportunities that are good for the community and good for the Tribe,” Meade said. “It will open job opportunities for Tribal members and members of the community while also opening new markets for forest products companies and their employees.”
Because the Coquille Forest is managed under strict federal regulations, the Tribe cannot export logs harvested on Tribal lands.
Day-to-day management of the new company will be conducted by Knutson Towboat personnel, who already have expertise in this area, while CEDCO provides the loading terminal for ships bound to Asian ports. The new venture creates growth opportunities for both companies.
According to Aldridge, the joint venture is working with Silvan Forest, LLC, a firm that specializes in procuring logs for export to Chinese markets. He said the relationship between K2 and Silvan provides “an important link between logging companies and K2 operations that ensures a steady supply of logs for export.”
Under the joint venture agreement, logs that have been purchased by Asian customers will be taken to Knutson Towboat’s facility in Millington where they will be scaled, sorted and barked. The prepared logs then will be transported to the Ko-Kwel Wharf terminal in North Bend where they will be sorted again and then stacked for shipping. Logs will be loaded onto ships through an arrangement with Stevedore Services of America.
According to Knutson Towboat Company CEO John Knutson, the venture will bring several important economic benefits to North Bend and Coos Bay region.
“Our operations at Millington and activity on Ko-Kwel Wharf are expected to require at least 20 new family wage jobs,” Knutson said. “In addition, the project will open substantial opportunities for longshore workers in the area.”
Aldridge added that the venture also produces several indirect benefits to the region.
“The project will create greater demand for trucking services and related businesses, he said. “Also, logs coming into the area by rail will help improve the Port’s rail service by adding some inbound rail traffic to the predominantly outbound traffic.”
Knutson said preparation of the two sites will create opportunities for local businesses involved in various aspects of general contracting. Preparation work is underway at the Millington site and soon will begin on the Ko-Kwel Terminal site.
About CEDCO: As the business arm of the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Coquille Economic Development Corporation is committed to securing the financial health of the Tribe and to making a proactive, positive contribution to the economy of Oregon’s South Coast. CEDCO manages The Mill Casino • Hotel & RV Park along with business ventures in high-speed telecommunications and renewable energy.
Contact: Ray Doering, corporate communications director, (541) 756-8800 ext. 1243 or cell (541) 297-4611.