Billions and billions of little white flakes have descended upon the City of Destiny, but Tacomans aren’t running for their snow shovels.
Thanks to a collaboration of Fuji Oil Co., Ltd., Cargill Incorporated and Pacific Northwest-based MacMillan-Piper, plus partnerships with Maersk Sealand, the Port of Tacoma and Tacoma Rail, a new bulk transloading
facility at 1509 Taylor Way for white soy flakes officially opened Monday.
Officials of Tokyo-based Fuji and MacMillan-Piper cut a ribbon to launch the
$330,000 facility extension that will transload bulk ‘ID preserved’ (non-genetically modified) white soy flakes for export to Japan. “This is a
high-demand product in Japan,” explained Steve Sproull, commercial manager for Cargill. “We are ultimately responsible for the integrity of this
product from the time that it leaves the farmer’s field until it is safely
delivered to our customer.”
Sproull noted that the key to setting up the distribution system was MacMillan-Piper’s new facility. “This is a modern facility that was built
for one purpose and one purpose only – white soy flakes for Japan.”
As the premier bulk transloader in the Pacific Northwest, MacMillan-Piper
was a natural choice for Cargill. “Our expertise in handling this product,
plus our proximity to Tacoma Rail lines and the Port of Tacoma were
certainly an advantage in securing this business,” explained John Odland,
Vice President of MacMillan-Piper.
Construction began in late 2001 and the facility, which features a closed
environment and stainless steel augers, supported by a dust-control system,
was completed in July. As covered rail hoppercars unload at
MacMillan-Piper, stainless steel augers steadily convey soy flakes into
plastic lined ocean containers. These are sealed and delivered to the Port
of Tacoma, where a Maersk Sealand vessel loads and delivers the containers
directly to Japan.
Fuji processes the flakes into soy protein isolates, which are used in
everything from meat extenders and baking products to infant formulas.
“Fuji started this project with Cargill two years ago, and together, we examined all possible technologies and partners,” said Yoshiaki Nakajima,
Managing Director of Fuji. “Today’s opening at this facility near the Port of Tacoma completes this project, and it will bring Japan the highest quality product to the end of the supply chain.”
The commitment from all parties is five years with a renewal option. Cargill officials anticipate 13,500 short tons to be exported in 2002, with
significant volume growth with each passing year.