Potential job creator purchases large building at Port of Pine Bluff

An international agri-business corporation purchased a 178,000-square-foot building located at the Port of Pine Bluff in late 2013, according to Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County documents.

The purchase is part of a $15 million project that could see the creation of 30 to 50 jobs, according to a handout distributed Wednesday at the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Port Authority Board of Directors meeting.

The building was formerly owned by Allied Tube and the purchasing corporation was also interested in buying the remaining Allied Tube facilities at the port, according to the documents, which did not disclose the name of the company.

“They are not at the announcement stage yet because they are doing their due diligence,” said Alliance President and CEO Lou Ann Nisbett.

In other business, Port of Pine Bluff terminal manager Mike Murphy presented the 2013 tonnage report for the public terminal.

“We ended the year with a total of 58,664 tons, which is 10,000 tons less than in 2012,” Murphy said. “We picked up some rice from an independent buyer, which helped to offset the drop-off somewhat.”

Data provided by Murphy indicated that the terminal loaded more than 19,000 tons of bulk rice during 2013.

Murphy said the port recently loaded a trial barge with soybean meal for a Minnesota company.

“We loaded the barge, which then headed south,” Murphy said. “If that was determined to have been a success, then we are looking at loading a barge per month for them.”

Murphy said the terminal received more than 6,000 tons of urea fertilizer, more than 11,000 tons of vermiculite and more than 16,000 tons of steel and wire rod coils, among other items.

Murphy said port operator Kinder Morgan has authorized $200,000 for repairs to two storage facilities.

“This is a big plus that we will be able to move forward with these repairs immediately,” Murphy said.