A new United Grain silo complex reaching levels of 300 feet high will become the tallest slip form structures in North America, according to Port of Vancouver, Wash., authorities.
The 20-story structures reflect the importance of grain storage on the Willamette, Columbia rivers system, and is a new achievement for United Grain, which will operate the silos.
In a more than $70 aillion United Grain expenditure to expand facilities, the silos are part of a new skyline for Vancouver which plans to build two dozen silos in the near future.
When the project now underway is completed in fall, 2012, United anticipates adding 60,000 tons of grain capacity to the port area. That could up port grain exports from Vancouver by more than 50%, report company officials.
At the same time, new track at the port is expected to reduce shipping and handling time, which could mean lower costs for producers sending their grain to Vancouver.
When complete in 2017, the rail modification is expected to reduce congestion at the port by as much as 40%, report facility officials.
Structures were removed in order to provide space for United's new silos, and the storage facility construction began earlier this year.
Most of the crops handled by the new silos will be soybeans and corn. At completion, an additional 2 million tons of grain will be moving through the port, doubling the current grain export capacity.
"The surplus and demolition of these buildings is the first step in a $72 million project that we hope to complete over the next several years," reports Tony Flagg, United Grain president.
Because the shipping channel depth was increased by three feet in recent years, about 7,200 tons of additional grain can be loaded on vessels calling at the port. The ability to accommodate larger ships carrying heavier cargo loads makes the port and U.S. farmers who ship their grain through the port more competitive in the global marketplace, he adds.