Port of Brownsville, TX — West Plains LLC, a grain elevator subsidiary of the BioUrja Group, hosted a grand re-opening event Thursday, December 15, 2016, officially opening one of the port’s most iconic buildings.
The 50-year-old grain elevator has handled millions of tons of grain passing through the port, and upon completion of its modernization it will be equipped for efficient and high-speed handling of grain through all modes of transportation – truck, rail and vessel.
The renovated facility will provide storage for nearly 3 million bushels of grain, and in addition it will add eight full-time, year-round jobs.
“The agricultural industry in the Rio Grande Valley continues to have a tremendous economic impact for the region,” said John Wood, Brownsville Navigation District Chairman. “We’re pleased that the partnership between West Plains LLC, OmniTRAX Inc. and the Port of Brownsville will benefit our local growers and connect them with new markets.”
The first train with grain is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2017 on the OmniTRAX-operated Brownsville & Rio Grande International Railway via Union Pacific. This will represent the first grain delivery to the port in five years.
“The reactivation of the grain elevator by West Plains is another great example of bringing a commercial operator into the port to build out a vibrant opportunity for the region,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX.
The renovation and modernization of the facility began in May 2016 when West Plains signed an agreement with the Brownsville Navigation District to reactivate the grain elevator in support of the local agriculture industry. The company, which operates 26 grain elevators across four states in the U.S., intends to link local growers to new markets for sorghum, corn, DDGS and other crops internationally via ocean vessels.
“The addition of the Port of Brownsville facility to the West Plains asset base will bring critical markets to our customers and allow for strategic growth of the company,” said Mike Rowan, President of West Plains. ““This is a great opportunity for West Plains to access the fertile markets of Latin America as well as servicing other locations around the world,” he added.
Amit Bhandari, Chairman and CEO of the BioUrja Group, said they are “eager to get the grain elevator at the port going again” because of the opportunities the group expects to gain as they look to expand their global footprint for new energy commodities.
“Our goal is not only to return the elevator to its heyday but we see Brownsville as a launch pad for new energy commodity opportunities in the area due to its central location and access to the various modes of transportation,” said Bhandari.
See the original release here: http://www.portofbrownsville.com/west-plains-hosts-grand-re-opening-celebration-for-port-of-brownsville-grain-elevator/