7:16am

Wed April 2, 2014
Business

Port of Oswego poised for economic growth

The Port of Oswego is planning for even more growth behind the leadership of its new executive director, and is making use of an aggressive business plan that could lead to bigger profits.

Zelko Kirincich is excited about the future of the Port of Oswego. The recently appointed executive director says the port is taking on a two-fold strategy this year.

"The plans for this year are that we're going to have a building year while we have a growing year," Kirincich explained. "What I mean by a building year, we're going to have a busy construction year. We're going to be constructing our intermodal facility. We're also going to be making improvements to our marina. And we're also going to be working on some solar projects here at the port. While all that is going on, we're going to have a record year in aluminum."
 

A loader fills a train car with grain. Once the rail line is complete, Kirincich says the port could be able to load much more grain daily.
Credit Gino Geruntino / WRVO

That record year is the result of a notification from Novelis saying they will increase shipments this year by somewhere between 15 and 20 percent, according to Kirincich.

He is also in talks with Perdue, the chicken and agricultural giant, to bring in more products through the port.

"It's going to be a very good year for the port. The last board meeting, we presented a budget which shows a significant increase over last year. We were conservative on our projections. We limited them to about 15 percent."

It's also preparing to increase its grain shipments. Once its rail system is completed, Kirincich says they could handle much higher amounts of grain than they do now.

"Right now we load on the average three to five cars a day. If a unit train comes here, we're talking about 70. So we plan to multiply that. We won't load it per day, per se, but we'll load a unit train probably two or three days. So we're looking at systems, we're looking at things of that nature. So we're looking at some major investments."

These investments and added shipments have Kirincich anticipating revenues of about $4.3 million. Last year, the port made $3.9 million.

And although the port will receive more shipping and rail work, Kirincich says more than $10 million in other investments will add to the current services it provides. Its marina is also going to get a makeover, including a new fuel dock, which Kirincich says will make its marina more attractive to visitors.

He says there had been fears of a delay to the season opening, but with the St. Lawrence Seaway opening last week, he says any setbacks should be minimal and have no impact on the final numbers.

And its when the port succeeds, that Kirincich says the whole region can move forward.

"The port is a key, key component. If we have a healthy port, you should have a healthy city. And by us getting busier, and getting more economically vibrant, it's an excellent sign for the city of Oswego. It's an excellent sign for every citizen."

Kirincich says the port expects to be fully operational by early 2015.

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