New Export Grain Terminal Impresses N.D. Farmers

It can handle 14 shuttle trains at a time and nearly all of them carrying soybeans are coming from North Dakota and South Dakota.

Published on: Jul 11, 2013

If you grow soybeans, you ought to see how they are how they are handled after they leave your farm.

"It's intriguing," says Dennis Renner, Mandan, N.D. He grows soybeans and currently serves on the North Dakota Soybean Association board. Previously he served on the North Dakota Soybean Research Council.

Renner was one of about 20 farmers and industry representatives who recently toured the newest and one of the largest grain export terminals in the Pacific Northwest. NDSC, which invests checkoff money to research infrastructure needed to get soybeans to market --sponsored the trip as part of its "See For Yourself" program

EGT is a new $200 million terminal built by Bunge and its Japanese and Korean partners on the Columbia River at Longview, Wash. It loaded its first ocean going vessel in Feb. 2012.

Jeff Olson (left) and Dallas Loff (right), both soybean growers from Colfax, N.D., talk to EGT facility manager Jerry Gibson about the 6-foot wide air cushioned belt conveyor that unloads shuttle train at the Pacific Northwest port. The state of the art conveyor that rides on a cushion of air to reduce wear and minimize dust is powered by 1,000 hp engines.
Jeff Olson (left) and Dallas Loff (right), both soybean growers from Colfax, N.D., talk to EGT facility manager Jerry Gibson about the 6-foot wide air cushioned belt conveyor that unloads shuttle train at the Pacific Northwest port. The state of the art conveyor that rides on a cushion of air to reduce wear and minimize dust is powered by 1,000 hp engines.

EGT loads bulk cargo ships bound for markets in Asia with wheat, corn and soybeans. It can also handle soybean meal and distillers grains.

An aerial view of the new EGT grain terminal at Longview, Washington, that exports Dakota-grown soybeans to Asia.
An aerial view of the new EGT grain terminal at Longview, Washington, that exports Dakota-grown soybeans to Asia.

EGT is the first export grain terminal built in the U.S. in more than 25 years and is largely automated and controlled by an extensive bank of computers. Robots even open and close shuttle train gates as the trains move over grain pits.

There's room on the EGT 200-acre site on the banks of the Columbia River about 65 miles from the Pacific Ocean to hold 14 shuttle trains at a time. The trains never stop as they unload. They move around the track at about 1/3 mile per hour. It takes EGT only six hours to unload a shuttle.

The whole soybeans handled by EGT almost exclusively come from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Jeff Gibson, EGT facility manager, gives the North Dakota group a tour of the terminals control room. The terminal is highly automated. Video cameras and allow operators to see whats going on throughout the facility and thousands of sensors monitor the equipment.
Jeff Gibson, EGT facility manager, gives the North Dakota group a tour of the terminal's control room. The terminal is highly automated. Video cameras and allow operators to see what's going on throughout the facility and thousands of sensors monitor the equipment.

"You are in the sweet spot" for exporting soybeans to the growing Chinese market, EGT Facility Manager Jerry Gibson told the North Dakota farmers. North Dakota and South Dakota are closer to the PNW ports than any other growing region and the PNW is closer to China than ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

To learn more about EGT, see www.egtgrain