Port of Coos Bay officials have been in secret negotiations for a coal export terminal since October, 2011.
They dubbed the effort “Project Mainstay” and declined to publicly identify their potential partners, citing confidentiality agreements with those firms. Port officials say their partners are still developing a plan, and have not signed any binding agreements to operate a terminal in Coos Bay.
EarthFix has learned the identity of two of those potential partners through documents it obtained under the Oregon Public Records Act, along with additional reporting.
One of those documents, the agreement between the Port of Coos Bay and the companies that want to export coal, was heavily redacted. However, one reference to the companies remained unredacted; the “Parties” were identified as “Metro/Mitsui” in this instance.
Online research and interviews pointed to Metro Ports, a stevedoring and terminal management company based in California, and Mitsui, a large international trading company involved with commodities, including coal. Metro Port’s parent company is Nautilus International Holding Corp.
A follow-up to the records request produced emails between the Port of Coos Bay and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s Regional Solutions office. An attachment, “Facts about Project Mainstay,” provided clear descriptions of the companies that matched those of Metro Ports and Mitsui.
For instance, a document attached to an email explained that the stevedoring company currently operates an “enclosed coal export storage facility.” Metro Ports operates such a facility in Long Beach, Calif.
“Facts about Project Mainstay” also states that the trading company “has ownership interest in significant percentage of rail car fleets in North America.” Mitsui operates a major rail-car leasing business.
These documents contained numerous other connections between Metro Ports, Mitsui and Project Mainstay.
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