WND: Minot port to expand$300 million investment will create jobs, support oil and ag industries
By: Alan Van Ormer, Prairie Business Magazine
A $300 million capital investment will increase capacity at the Port of North Dakota in Minot.
The project will expand the port to 3,200 acres and will increase the rail up to 45 miles of track. The port currently consists of a headquarters building, warehouse and two miles of railroad tracks. Port authorities are in the process of outlining the phased development of the project.
In addition, the area will include spaces for the North Dakota Port Services, petroleum energy companies, petroleum servicing companies, intermodal containment shipping companies and warehouse and distribution companies.
Jerry Chavez, executive director of the Minot Area Development Corp., says petroleum companies in western North Dakota need service companies to assist with the oil play. “The capital investment of $300 million does not include construction of other buildings for tenant users,” he says.
Greg Johnson, president and owner N.D. Port Services Inc. that operates the Port of North Dakota, says the project will generate revenue for the community, adding that N.D. Port Services does not share that information with the public. He does say that it will generate approximately 2,000 jobs. Johnson adds that the companies that will begin operations in the Port of North Dakota will be those that need rail access.
United Pulse Trading Inc. in the Minot Value-Added Agricultural Complex is one company that needs the rail access. The complex is adjacent to the port, which will help United Pulse remain competitive, says Eric Bartsch, general manager of United States operations for United Pulse Trading.
“One of the items that drew us to Minot was the access to the mainline railroad and container freight in Minot,” he says. “We can fill those containers coming in with our products and in return export them around the world from Minot.”
Bartsch says investment in the port will impact the region and provides them with an opportunity for long-term growth. “Anytime you are investing in a container yard it provides a positive regional impact on the movement of goods.”
United Pulse, which also has a processing facility in Williston, N.D., is constructing a $12 million plant that will employ 40 to 45 people, according to the company. The new plant will handle 100,000 metric tons of product per year. It will include processing equipment for beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils and will add capacity for making food ingredients such as flours, proteins, starches and fibers.
Currently, 70 industrial container shipments come into the Port of North Dakota and 70 agricultural commodities are shipped out daily. The first containers of ag commodities were shipped out of the port in August 2010.
According to literature provided by the Port of North Dakota, the port will be the largest distribution hub between Seattle and Chicago in Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC territory and will be a distribution center for crude oil, condensate, frac sand, truck brokerage, aggregate hauling and low-boy services.
Chavez says it will alleviate the congestion in the western part of the state for rail traffic and allows Minot to position itself as a distribution hub for the Bakken.
“The capital investment, land and amount of track contemplated a grand vision to help the Bakken and those companies that are operating in that footprint,” Chavez says. “This is a different approach for meeting demand for rail transportation in North Dakota. This really puts us on the map in a major way.” PB
Alan Van Ormer
Editor, Prairie Business
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