Another Port and Pellet Pact

By Anna Simet | June 21, 2013

Some big news in the pellet industry this week was that Enova Energy group signed a Letter of Intent with the St. Joe Company in Florida to use the port and the AN Railway to ship wood pellets overseas, a minimum of 1 million metric tons.

That capacity is in the works. Enova ’s Senior Vice President of Development Ben Easterlin sent me a note telling me of the news, and said that the company should break ground on its first two pellet plants in next 60 days, with many more in the pipeline.

As pointed out in the announcement from Enova, the Port of Port St. Joe (yes, it is the Port of Port St. Joe) is well positioned for bulk cargo shipments, offering access to rail, the U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and state and U.S. highways. The Port also has a navigational channel that is federally authorized to a maximum of 37 feet, but dredging the Port's shipping channel to the authorized depth is necessary prior to commencing shipping activities.

So, the LOI between The St. Joe Company and Enova is contingent upon the Port of Port St. Joe receiving funding to complete maintenance dredging of the shipping channel. Park Brady, CEO of the St. Joe Company, said that improvement is the last major hurdle to an operational port.

And it sounds like it’s definitely going to happen.

Of course, the project is receiving lots of support from local and state officials, especially the mayor of the Port St. Joe, who said the city and the port could see a tremendous increase in economic activity because of the venture.

As a footnote, Enova has a biomass power plant in development in Painfield, Conn., that will begin operations during the last quarter of this year.

Add this LOI to the rapidly expanding list of pellet port projects. While I’m on that subject, make sure you check out an exclusive photo spread in the August issue of Biomass Magazine—compliments of our very own Executive Editor Tim Portz—of Georgia’s Port of Brunswick and its transformation into a pellet export hub, via millions of dollars in upgrades.