Bonds authorized to finance Mississippi pellet port improvements

By Sue Retka Schill | December 17, 2013

The Port of Pascagoula in Jackson County, Miss., is one step closer to beginning work on a wood pellet export facility for the planned Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. pellet plant. County supervisors authorized a bond issue for up to $24 million for construction of the export facility.

Expected to cost about $30 million, the state has committed $10 million to the project and the terminal operator will invest $5 million. The extra borrowing authority above the $15 million difference is considered on the high side to cover unanticipated needs. Design and engineering details are yet to be finalized, and construction is expected to begin in the next few months and completed sometime in 2015, said the port’s manager of government affairs and public relations, Betty Ann White.

The port authority learned in November that it was granted $14 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery discretionary grant program for rail improvements to serve the new facility. The improvements include rerouting rail, relocating a railroad interchange to eliminate traffic blockage in downtown Pascagoula and removing 16 rail crossings.

The port and rail improvements are being made to serve a 500,000 ton-per-year pellet facility planned by Florida-based Green Circle Bio Energy Inc. The $115 million wood pellet manufacturing facility will be built at the George County Industrial Park in Lucedale, Miss., about 40 miles north of Pascagoula.