AGP expands port facility to export more soy meal as renewable diesel drives crush capacity up
The board of directors of Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) recently approved a major expansion and upgrade of its export facilities at the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, Washington. The plans include upgrades to its current facilities at Terminal 2, including the construction of additional storage, and the addition of a new state-of-the-art ship loader at Terminal 4. Terminals 2 and 4 are both deep-water berths with quick access to the open ocean. The planned expansion will enable AGP to load multiple ships up to and including Panamax-sized vessels.
“AGP has developed a very strong relationship with the Port of Grays Harbor leadership team,” said Lowell Wilson, AGP’s board chairman. “We look forward to continuing and expanding our relationship as we move forward with this project. The project approved by the AGP board will greatly increase railcar unloading speed, ship loading capacities, and add redundancy.”
AGP’s CEO Chris Schaffer added, “With the expansion in U.S. soybean-crush capacity driven by the demand for renewable diesel feedstock, soybean meal production in the United States will outpace historical increases in domestic usage. AGP’s western U.S. processing locations fit well to supply additional protein to the growing Southeast Asian and Asian markets. The U.S. currently provides less than 20 percent of overall Southeast Asian soymeal demand. Through the years, AGP has developed a very strong relationship with protein buyers in this region. This project will significantly improve speed, capacity, and product availability for the benefit of current and future international customers.”
Craig Pietig, AGP’s vice president of ag products, said, “Today, time is more valuable than ever. The upgrades and new ship loader will improve logistics for our plants, enhance production, and reduce vessel idle time. All of this will reduce costs for the end customer ensuring the Port of Grays Harbor remains a cost-effective port for soybean-meal exports and other processed commodities. In the past, exports have been curtailed by U.S. soybean-meal production capacities. Once the announced expansions in the domestic soybean-crushing industry are in operation there will be additional soybean meal to better serve the growing international demand for protein. When this project is completed, our unloading capabilities will rival grain terminal speeds and the expanded facility will provide a needed marketing channel for the anticipated increase in supply.”
AGP expects operations to begin in 2025. Company officials noted that final construction decisions and timeline are contingent on negotiations with federal, state, local and port officials regarding economic development incentives, lease terms, infrastructure improvements and regulatory considerations. “We are committed to working with the port and government officials to develop and complete this important project in order to better serve our customers and also provide benefits to our cooperative members, their farmer owners, and the surrounding community,” Schaffer said.