It has been a pivotal year for Port of Olympia businesses. We opened our new Swantown Boatworks, diversified our customer base at the Marine Terminal, invested in an environmentally sound fuel facility at the Olympia Regional Airport and welcomed new tenants at NewMarket Industrial Campus and Swantown Properties.

All these developments were planned and implemented within the general guidelines of the 1995 Comprehensive Plan, which outlines a 20-year strategy for the development of Port properties.

Marine Terminal: Diverse shipping needs were served in 1999 and several unique cargo opportunities were captured, demonstrating the versatility of the Port’s terminal facilities.

In May, more 13,000 metric tons of cottonseed from West Africa were received, stored and transported to Washington dairy farms. The bulk cargo was discharged using the Port’s gantry cranes, a hopper and conveyor system feeding directly into the transit shed, enabling the Port to achieve the highest productivity for cottonseed in the Northwest.

In addition to regular vessel calls handling forest products exports, logging equipment barged from Alaska was received and delivered at the terminal. Product diversification included a chipping operation and log yard customers.

An operation that receives and loads recycled glass onto railcars for shipment to California was initiated earlier in year and grew in both volume and customer base.

The Port established Olympia as a load center for imported logs, which arrived via both raft and barge, and were loaded onto railcars for shipment to Oregon mills.

Among the improvements to infrastructure was completion of $3.2 million worth of repairs to Berth 3 and replacement of the creosote fender pile system. Through a grant from the Department of Transportation, the terminal rail system was extended to increase efficiency and capacity.

Swantown Marina & Boatworks: After the Swantown Boatworks opened in March, the number of boats handled in this first year exceeded expectations.

In September, Simon Johnson, a private developer, broke ground for the first building that will house marine-related businesses at the Boatworks site.

Continuing efforts to accommodate small boaters, Swantown Marina has leased an upland storage area and moorage for a float owned by the Olympia Area Rowers Association. The Marina also hosted the third annual Swantown Regatta human-powered boat race during Harbor Days and the second annual Budd Invitational rowing race in September.

Property Development: Opening of the Guest House Inn at the NewMarket Industrial Campus earlier this year marked the first step in the creation of a commercial district for the master-planned properties in Tumwater.

Other highlights included an option negotiated with MBCI, the world’s largest manufacturer of metal roof and wall systems, for property in the NewMarket Campus, the MarketPlace office building opened in the Market District, and the Port leased Warehouse 2 to Western Intermodal, which receives steel coils by rail. In addition, developers were sought to build a new retail/office building in the Market District at Swantown.

Olympia Regional Airport: Three fixed-base operators were connected to the new above-ground fuel system designed to prevent ground water contamination.

The Port also conducted independent and joint studies that indicated the South Sound region is a steadily expanding market for commuter air service, but not quite ready for an airline such as Harbor Air.

Local Community: The Port sponsored seminars on the basics of importing and exporting, as well as understanding Foreign-Trade Zones, to promote international trade in South Sound.

The Port’s Economic Development Commission approved Industrial Development Revenue Bonds for Mutual Materials and Ostrom Co., which provided financial assistance for new construction and expansion projects this year.

Author Bob Van Schoorl is president of Olympia Port Commission.