Letter of Support for Columbia River Carbonates
UPDATE: CRC has sent a copy of the information they will be presenting.
On January 28 I received the following e-mail from Bernie Schockelt, General Manager of Columbia River Carbonates, requesting I (we) consider writing a letter of request for their proposed marine terminal.
Good Morning Michael and Happy New Year to you…
Our paths have crossed several times now – the last time was two years ago (I believe) while we interviewed the candidates for Planters Day Princess. To jog your memory a little, my name is Bernie Schockelt, and I am the General manager of Columbia River Carbonates. In 1985 we broke ground in Woodland and, since then, have become very active in supporting the Woodland community and its schools. Since 2000, we have contributed nearly $200,000 in local scholarships for graduating high school students and offered internships for many of them to work at CRC. We are proud of our involvement in the community and are comfortable in saying that we are a vital piece of the puzzle that contributes to a strong and healthy community.
As you likely are aware, we are currently planning to build a Marine Terminal on the Columbia River in Woodland. I cannot impress upon you enough how important this permitting process and project is to the long term viability of Columbia River Carbonates. Successful completion of this project will insure the preservation of tax base and 70 family wage paying jobs. The purpose of this email is to ask the Woodland School District for its help by sending a letter of support concerning our Woodland WA Marine Terminal Project to the following individual who is reviewing our permit application?
Senior Environmental Planner
Cowlitz County Building and Planning Department
207 4th Avenue North
Kelso, WA 98626
I have also attached two example letters (Mayor, City of Woodland,and West Linn Paper) that could be used for your reference and also offer the below background to provide you additional insight as to the importance of the Marine Terminal to our organization I have also attached a Flyer that has been (or will be) sent to the Woodland Community in January. You are welcome to distribute this information to any person/party that might be interested in what we are planning and why we are moving forward in this direction.
Increased grain and coal shipments have put tremendous pressures on rail service to the point that we have experienced a near 40% drop in the capacity of our specialized railcar fleet over the last 5 years. Because of this we have had to activate our Alaskan deposit which has cost us millions of dollars in premature capital spending (nearly $7.0 million to be more exact). The good news is that our Alaskan stone is shipped via barge (2013 9 barges loads @ 83,000 tons or 37% of our plant’s feed requirements) which is the most environmentally friendly and cost effective method of shipping raw materials across vast distances. The bad news is that the barged raw material passes right by our plant in Woodland as it heads south on the Columbia River to Portland’s Rivergate Marine Terminal where the material is offloaded and stored. In addition to offloading, storage and handling fees charge by the transfer facility, we also have to truck the limestone through Portland and up to Woodland with a mode of transport that is both expensive as well as less environmentally friendly.
One additional and major concern for CRC’s long-term viability is the fact that part of our rail transit is served by the Cascade Columbia Rail Road (Rail America) who is struggling financially due to lost rail traffic on the their 100 mile hauling corridor. The significant erosion of the short lines customer base has resulted in a significant reduction of service that they are able to provide (to no fault of their own). This has impacted our fleet efficiency as well. The below charts should be self-explanatory as to why we are concerned about the long term viability of rail delivered raw materials to Woodland.
Besides or In addition to the loss of service, our rail rates have nearly doubled over the last 12 +/- years.
In short we see barging as playing a significant role in our future and the viability of our company. As far as we are concerned it is the only long-term solution to securing raw material feed for our facility in a reliable, efficient and cost effective manner.
Michael…. thank you in advance for giving this request your consideration.
Bernie M Schockelt
Mr. Schockelt will be at the board meeting to make a brief presentation to the board so the board may consider whether or not they wish to have a letter of support drafted.