Port operator’s deal extended to mid-2015

Published 1:36 am Saturday, August 23, 2014

After a month of pinging ideas and off each other, Kinder Morgan and the Warren County Port Commission agreed this week on a six-month extension of the firm’s current deal to operate port facilities.
The decision allows more time for the company to round up more customers to move raw materials through the slackwater harbor and the commission to mull a request to reduce a fee paid for using privately-owned warehouses at the port.
Terms of the current lease call for the company to pay $135,000 in base rent plus 8 percent if revenue tops $1 million. The incentive jumps to 15 percent if revenue reaches $1.4 million. In October, the five-member Warren County Port Commission voted to tack one more year onto the Houston-based terminals operator’s recurring deal to oversee the crane support platform and ancillary buildings at Port Terminal Circle. The previous contract was inked in 2012. The extension reached Monday as port and company officials met runs through June 2015.
Stephen Corby, a commercial manager for Kinder Morgan, had told commissioners in July the company sought a three-year extension tied to the county replacing the 15-ton overhead crane and adding a barge winch system to the T-dock support platform by December 2015. Chairman Johnny Moss had said any recommendation on the T-dock would be kept to those given by Stantec, the county’s engineering firm of record. The commission then voted to allow executive director Wayne Mansfield to take quotes from other companies for port operations.
Corby on Monday said the company was working on a $10 million deal with a new customer that “has the potential to solve the infamous overhead crane issue.” The crane was put in use in the 1990s. Conservative estimates to replace it have been stated at $10 million or more.
“It’s gonna be a scramble to get someone in here in six months,” Mansfield said Monday in support of extending the current deal with the company instead of finding another firm to set up shop by the time the previous extension was to end in Dec. 31.
The port has been busier at its cargo unloading area this summer compared to the same time last year, according to tonnage reports. Revenue generated by the Kinder Morgan contract in June and July totaled $588,522, up sharply from the $235,870 from the same months in 2013. About 40 percent of the 68,248 net tons unloaded was corn screenings.

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