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Rail News: Intermodal

Council of State OKs deal for new wood pellet export facility at North Carolina port


North Carolina's Council of State yesterday approved a 20-year agreement between the North Carolina State Ports Authority and WoodFuels L.L.C. concerning the construction of a wood pellet export facility at the Port of Morehead City.

According to the pact's terms, WoodFuels would finance and build a $25 million export facility at the port to receive, store and load wood pellets for export to Europe, where the material would be used as a renewable energy source. The facility would receive the first shipment of pellets in late 2014. The Port of Morehead City is served by Carolina Coastal Railway.

Last week, the authority's board approved the agreement, which is projected to generate annual revenue from $1.2 million to $2 million, and provide $840,000 that could be reinvested into the Port of Morehead City each year, authority officials said in a press release.

"This agreement is another example of our efforts to enhance our ports and ensure that North Carolina has the infrastructure in place to support growing industries that are critical to our state's continued economic success," said North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata.

According to forest industry experts at North Carolina State University, U.S. wood pellet production is expected to increase from 3 million tons four years ago to about 10 million tons by 2015. Earlier this year, the authority completed a deal with Enviva Holdings L.P. to construct and operate a similar facility at the Port of Wilmington by early 2015.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/2/2013