GEORGETOWN, S.C. — Carolina-Pacific, a company that ships charcoal briquettes from Georgetown to Europe, is shipping their first load from the Port of Georgetown Saturday.
The briquettes, which are the first load of the product to ever leave the United States, will be used as clean-burning fuel for power plants in Europe.
Georgetown County has recently marketed itself as a place where environmentally friendly businesses can locate, especially ones tied to the port of Georgetown.
The Carolina-Pacific shipment shows that the efforts to revitalize the port, and establish the area as the Green Coast are working said Economic Development Director Wayne Gregory.
“Friday’s shipment shows that we’re moving in the right direction and the port does have a bright future,’’ Gregory said. “It’s one step to show that the port is getting back where it needs to be.”
Two other businesses that are considering using the port of Georgetown would also ship environmentally conscious products out of Georgetown, Gregory said.
Those companies have not made an announcement about when they are coming, and their names have not been released.
The companies cannot yet use the port because of the problem with dredging.
The port is silted in in some locations, which prevents larger ships from entering Georgetown.
“If we had the water, we would have more companies looking at us,” Gregory said. “That is what is so frustrating.”
Ted McNair, mill manager for Carolina Pacific, said the first ship that will carry the cargo will arrive in Georgetown on Friday.
The ship will load from the local warehouse on Saturday, he said.
The briquettes are made in Georgetown, McNair said.
According to information released last year, Carolina-Pacific occupies more than 100,000 square feet of
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warehouse space at the port to support manufacturing and exporting the wood briquettes.
“Wood pellets and briquettes are quickly becoming a high-demand commodity overseas due to requirements that member countries of the European Union generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020,’’ according to information in a press release.
Clean burning product
The briquettes are not yet used in the United States, McNair said.
He described the briquettes as being a fairly new addition to the biomass industry.
“They are carbon neutral and burn much cleaner than coal,” he said.
The next shipment of briquettes could go out in the next several months, he said.
The news of the ship arriving in Georgetown is not the only good news this week for the economy.
Another environmentally-friendly company, not tied to the port, is also considering moving to Georgetown County, according to county officials.
The county agreed last week to offer a fee in lieu of taxes to the company, if it came to Georgetown County.
Any final agreement involving a fee in lieu of taxes would need to be passed by ordinance, and would take three readings before Georgetown County Council.
Gregory said he could not discuss the number of jobs the company would create.
Companies who receive a fee in lieu of taxes agreement pay a fee, rather than school taxes or property taxes.
Georgetown County Economic Development Commission Chairman Dan Scheffing said the news is encouraging for Georgetown County.
“He’s [Wayne Gregory] has been working on them for a little while,’’ Scheffing said.
“We haven’t had a lot of activity in the past year or so, so it’s nice to hear something. It’s nice to have the activity.”
He said the business, and some others considering Georgetown, are possibly attracted to the quality of life and location.
He said the business considering Georgetown is “in keeping with the efforts to attract sustainable and responsible businesses to the county.”
By Kelly Marshall Fuller
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