NC’s Ag Commissioner on Expansion of Ports at Wilmington & Morehead City
Expanding the capacity of the state’s ports at Morehead City and Wilmington has been a talking point for some time. We finally have a new product that will be shipping out of them.
“We will be shipping wood pellets out of both ports which will not only enhance transportation jobs at the ports, but it’s an opportunity to revitalize the forest industry in NC. These wood pellets are very much in demand in Europe where they are used for energy production.
They will be using scrap from the forestry industry to create these wood pellets. After we log a track of forest, there are some trees that wont make logging timber and along with the branches and the leftovers, they will be utilized. Projections say by the year 2020 we could be moving 5 million metric tons of wood pellets though Morehead City and Wilmington.
One of the things that we have taken on in the Department of Ag, is the ports and trying to make them more efficient and to be able to export more products out of NC.
We really are in a global economy. We are already exporting about a billion and a half worth of forest products out of NC every year. We want to see that grow and be able to efficiently utilize this renewable resource that we are not now taking full benefit of.
Up to this point in time there has not been a use for wood pellets in the US. But it is my hope that in the future as we get factories built here to produce them, that we can find use for them here in NC. One thing that comes to mind is curing tobacco.
The companies that are involved do plan to build plants here in NC so it’s a great opportunity for our state.”