Ports shape up to ship out
U.S. mills produced 3 million tons of wood pellets in 2009, according to forestry experts at N.C. State University. The state ports in Morehead City and Wilmington should soon be able to ship more than half of that themselves. In October, the Council of State approved an agreement that allows San Diego-based International WoodFuels LLC, which is building a wood-pellet mill in Wilson County, to erect a terminal at Port of Morehead City capable of receiving, storing and loading 600,000 tons each year. That follows the June sanction of a proposed terminal at Port of Wilmington for Bethesda, Md.-based Enviva LP (Regional Report, January). The pellets will be shipped to power plants in Europe, where government policies for reducing carbon emissions have created a rising market for biomass fuel.
GARYSBURG The $52 million Enviva mill in Northampton County opened in 2011, employs 74 and produces 365,000 tons a year shipped out of its Chesapeake, Va., terminal.
SIMS Slated to open in early 2014, WoodFuels’ $60 million mill in Wilson County expects to produce 300,000 tons a year and create 32 jobs.
LUMBERTON — East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine will open a $3 million, 7,700-square-foot clinic here to treat low-income residents. It will be staffed full time by dentists and dental assistants, and students will rotate through nine- week stints. Robeson County donated the land. It is ECU’s seventh announced center since its dentistry school opened in 2008.
SOUTHPORT — Lee Controls will open a manufacturing plant and move its headquarters from Piscataway Township, N.J., to here, investing nearly $2.5 million and hiring 77 within three years. The company makes Teflon and pillow-block bearings. The average annual wage of the jobs will be $39,649, higher than Brunswick County’s average of $33,174.
WILMINGTON — New Hanover County commissioners approved $325,000 of incentives to Live Oak Bank for an expansion of its headquarters. The small-business lender plans to invest $16 million and hire 120 workers within five years at its sister company, nCino, which makes software for banks.
GREENVILLE — Montreal-based Domtar, a maker and distributor of pulp, paper and personal-care products, will expand here, investing $100,000 and hiring 35 finance and accounting workers. The average annual wage will be $52,000, higher than Pitt County’s average of $33,769.
BELHAVEN — Greenville-based Vidant Health will close Vidant Pungo Hospital (p. 50), citing its deteriorating condition and state lawmakers’ refusal of federal funding to expand Medicaid. The health system will open an outpatient clinic here that is expected to break ground this fall and take 18 months to complete. It will employ 30 to 35. The hospital employed 127.