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The St. Joe Co. announced yesterday it signed a letter of intent with Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. to jointly encourage economic development opportunities in northwest Florida, including the potential to make the Port of Port St. Joe operational.Green Circle is interested in leasing a site from St. Joe along the AN Railway to develop a wood pellet production facility, St. Joe Co. officials said in a press release. Green Circle operates the world's second-largest wood pellet plant in Cottondale, Fla., they added.Green Circle and St. Joe plan to enter into a wood fiber supply agreement as part of a definite agreement to be negotiated between the parties. The wood pellets produced at the new facility would be transported via the AN Railway or truck to the Port of Port St. Joe for shipment to overseas markets.The port is well positioned for bulk cargo shipments, offering access to rail, the U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and state and U.S. highways, St. Joe Co. officials said. The port also has a navigational channel that is federally authorized to a maximum 37 feet, but dredging a shipping channel to the authorized depth is necessary prior to commencing shipping activities, they said. St. Joe's and Green Circle's plans are are contingent upon the port receiving funds to complete channel dredging."A viable business is ready to use the port, and rail access to the port site is being improved. The missing link to an operational port is the necessary dredging improvements to the shipping channel," said St. Joe Chief Executive Officer Park Brady.
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