Biomass producer Enviva buys Chesapeake terminal

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Enviva LP has purchased a Chesapeake port terminal to help it handle an increased demand overseas for its wood biomass.

Richmond-based Enviva plans to create enough capacity at the terminal to receive, store and export more than 3 million tons of its woody biomass each year. The company says demand for woody biomass has surged recently, particularly in Europe, as an eco-friendly replacement for fossil fuels.

The Chesapeake terminal is one of the few on the East Coast capable of handling the export of wood pellets. The terminal will ship pellets produced in Enviva’s recently soon-to-be opened plant in Ahoskie, N.C., and several other sites in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“The Chesapeake region has for a long time been a key nexus of international trade in the United States,” Enviva CEO John Keppler said in a statement. “We are particularly excited to be one of the first green economy manufacturers to rebalance the flow of trade in favor of exports from this port in Virginia.”

The location also will reduce transportation time and costs for Enviva.Terminal upgrades at the plant are expected to be complete by November to coincide with the opening of the Ahoskie facility. The terminal’s staff of 12 is expected to double by the terminal’s third year of operations. Giant Cement Co.  will continue to use part of the terminal for cement sales.

The Chesapeake terminal can accommodate a wide range of ships and can handle the export of more than 40,000 metric tons per vessel.
“The port has handled our cement volumes for 11 years and has been an important asset for our company,” said Duncan Gage, President and CEO of Giant. “It is one of the only assets of its type on the Eastern Seaboard, and we believe that Enviva is well-positioned to capitalize on the potential of this terminal and increase its importance to the region.”

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