SATSOP — Brown-Minneapolis Tank Northwest LLC keeps discovering benefits of relocating to a site that was originally designed for a nuclear power plant — albeit one that was never finished, fueled or fired.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, after 15 years of sitting idle, the newly renovated industrial barge slip at Satsop Development Park will be used to load eight fabricated steel tanks — four per barge — which will head down the Chehalis River on their way to an Alaskan customer.
The last time the slip was used was in 1995 when the Washington Public Power Supply System shipped out a few oversized components of the deconstructed nuclear plant.
“One of the main reasons we moved to Satsop was having this kind of water access,” said Rollie Irwin, vice president of manufacturing for BMT. Irwin added that his business has grown since completing the move to the Satsop Development Park in April of 2009. The immense scale of the former twin-turbine building, the robust infrastructure built for a nuclear reactor, and now the renovated barge slip have allowed BMT to build bigger tanks and bid on larger and different projects, he said.
Each of the eight tanks being shipped out this week is 20 feet high and holds 50,000 gallons. They are heading up to Alaska Village Electric Cooperative for a bulk storage plant in Chevak, a village about halfway between Anchorage and Nome on the Bering Sea, where they will be used to store diesel fuel, Irwin said.
“The renovated barge slip was key to BMT’s decision to locate at the Satsop Development Park,” said Tami Garrow, CEO of the Grays Harbor Public Development Authority, which manages the Park. “We are thrilled to see the facility restored and actively used. It opens up all kinds of new business opportunities for both BMT and for the Park.”
The barge slip is 60 feet wide and 300 feet long and can accommodate barges up to 400 feet. It is designed for full access around the slip and is easily accessible to large cranes and heavy equipment.
Just knowing that BMT can now ship oversized tanks and specialized products by water that can’t be moved by truck or rail has made a huge difference for his business, Irwin said.
“Last year we garnered about $11 million in revenue; this year our goal is $12 to 14 million in revenue,” he said. “Had we not found Satsop, we would still be a $7- to $8-million-a-year company.”
BMT contracted with Samson Tug and Barge of Seattle to coordinate the complete move, taking the tanks down the river, up the coast and into Seattle, where they will be loaded onto a bigger barge. Using special trucks, Samson will load the tanks from BMT’s fabrication shop at 100 Tower Blvd., then trailer them 6 miles down the Park’s Haul Road to the barge slip. Local contractor Quigg Bros. Construction Co. of Aberdeen will then transport the tanks from the Satsop barge slip, down the Chehalis River to Aberdeen, where they will be loaded onto an ocean-going barge.