Plum Creek Timber Moves Log Export Operations to Port of Olympia as Hyundai Terminal Grows

“Plum Creek Timber Company, the nation’s fifth-largest owner of timberlands, is moving its log export operations from the Port of Tacoma to the Port of Olympia, according to a joint announcement from the company and Port of Olympia.The Seattle-headquartered company is expecting its first ship to call the Port of Olympia by the middle of the month.Plum Creek signed a three-year lease to establish a 12-acre log yard on Port of Olympia-owned property adjacent to the Port’s marine terminal on Budd Inlet. The lease will contain two one-year extension options and an option to add three more acres to the log yard.In the coming year, Plum Creek expects its total export volume through the Port to be approximately 25 million board feet, said Dave Crooker, general manager, Cascade Region.Since 1988, Plum Creek has operated a 15-20 acre log yard on Port of Tacoma-owned land adjacent to Blair Waterway. The company’s move to Olympia was triggered by the Port of Tacoma’s plans to expand a Blair Waterway container terminal leased to Hyundai Merchant Marine, a major South Korean container carrier.This would require Plum Creek to move to a smaller area away from the Blair terminal, said Crooker, complicating our operations there.The Port of Olympia has been very receptive to the move. They have guaranteed a log loading berth along with a debarker and a bundle lift for bringing logs out of the water for sorting.Our customers are very positive about the move, Crooker said. They can expect a savings in reduced ship loading and ship tending costs.We’re very pleased to have Plum Creek because they are an extremely reputable and quality-oriented company – the type of business partner we want in our community, Port of Olympia Commissioner Bob Van Schoorl said.Plum Creek really solidifies the forest products objective of our three-pronged marketing strategy, Van Schoorl said. The Port’s marketing plan is to attract more timber products as well as project cargoes and one or more scheduled-service ocean carriers, he said.Van Schoorl said Plum Creek’s arrival would trigger even larger economic benefits for the Port and community because the company will use Olympia as its Puget Sound area loading center. The presence of ships chartered to load the company’s logs will entice other exporters to route their logs to Olympia. Without the load centering, it’s difficult to compete in the forest product exporting market, Van Schoorl said.The Port currently has two other log exporters – Holbrook Inc. and Citifor Inc. Holbrook operates a public log yard on Port owned property that is available for various users.We’ve already had inquiries from companies wanting to do business here because they know there will be more ships and activity, said Nick Handy, the Port’s Executive Director. Handy said the Port already has the infrastructure – experienced log-handling longshoremen, equipment and facilities – needed to accommodate log exports.All of this is turnkey, ready to go, Handy said.Plum Creek is a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company exported 28 million board feet of logs in 1999.”