Morrow Pacific coal project ready to pay $75M for barges
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Vigor Industrial would make five covered barges for Ambre's Morrow Pacific project under letters of intent announced Monday.
Officials behind the Morrow Pacific coal export facility project planned for the Columbia River corridor announced Monday they have signed letters of intent with barge-makers Gunderson and Vigor Industrial for 20 enclosed barges, an order that would come in at $75 million.
The orders are contingent on project financing and permitting.
The Morrow Pacific project, under development by Australian coal company Ambre Energy, is one of several controversial coal export facilities proposed in the Pacific Northwest. It is perhaps the most aggressive in its timing and officials say they expect barge construction to begin next year.
"These (letters of intent) formalize our commitment to working with local companies," Clark Moseley, CEO of the Morrow Pacific project, in a press release. "We look forward to collaborating with Gunderson and Vigor."
The letters call for Gunderson, a division of Lake Oswego-based The Greenbrier Cos. Inc., to build 15 enclosed barges, work that's expected to create "hundreds" of jobs, according to Greenbrier CEO Bill Furman. The contract is valued at around $55 million.
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Portland-based Vigor would build five enclosed barges valued at more than $20 million.
Morrow Pacific is pursuing permits for the project with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of State Lands and Department of Environmental Quality. Oregon's DEQ determined last week that the project would need to receive an air quality permit, after saying earlier in the year that such a permit wouldn't be required.
The letters of intent follow up on a ECONorthwest report in May showing that the Morrow Pacific project would bring as much as $400 million in economic impact to Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Opponents to the coal export facilities say environmental and transportation impacts outweigh the potential economic benefits.
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