The Owensboro Riverport is in a growth mode. The port on the Ohio River broke records for both revenue and volume for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. President and CEO of the Owensboro Riverport Authority Brian Wright says there are two main reasons for the growth in business.
“The primary drivers of our record year stem from inbound metals and our new facility we’re in the process of building, a new milling facility for sodium bicarbonate.”
Much of the metal arriving by barge and rail is aluminum that’s distributed mainly to automotive businesses within 200 miles of the port.
That’s different than the aluminum made by Century Aluminum, which recently announced it’s idling its smelting operation in Hawesville, which has nearly 600 employees.
The other major growth segment at the port is from a 10-year contract with Solvay Chemicals for milling sodium bicarbonate.
"It's a brand new product for Owensboro Riverport. It originates out west and it comes in via rail," said Wright.
"We unload it from the rail car at a certain particle size and then it's milled down to its end-use particle size," he said.
"We're currently running a temporary facility today in lieu of the permanent facility, which will be finished late this fall, about December time frame."
The new milling facility will create eight jobs, in addition to about 10 jobs for a regional trucking company that will handle distribution.
Wright said one of the uses of the sodium bicarbonate is for emissions control for industry.
Owensboro Riverport Authority has 41 employees. Ten of those were hired in the past year.