Rainier - Teevin Bros.' new barge terminal in Rainier is linking the Knappa lumber company to markets and partners around the Pacific, the firm says.

The new facility was officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.

The former mill site on the Columbia, across the river from Longview, Wash., offers a "true intermodal, multimodal facility" providing economical loading and unloading space with connections to water, rail and road, according to Teevin's Paul Langner.

"It's wide open for a lot of things," he said.

The facility - the first new private terminal built on the lower Columbia in 10 years, according to the company - allows the company to transfer its own goods as well as those of other companies between barges, trains and trucks for shipment into and out of Northwest markets.

"We offer something a lot of ports can't - a big space without a lot of overhead," Langner said.

Teevin Bros. acquired the 80-acre parcel in 1999. A former mill site and brownfield, the land had been used at one time for disposal of material dredged from sediment-choked rivers following the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

Zoned for light and heavy industrial use, the site - visible from the Longview bridge on the right as one travels into Washington - was originally used for log-scaling, but three years ago the company decided to expand it into a true multiuse loading facility. Its proximity to Interstate 5 and many of the company's existing customers, and the fact it was already zoned for industrial use, made the property the logical site, Langner said.

Providing a convenient transfer point for rail and water transport, the site lets suppliers take advantage of more efficient barges and trains, an important consideration with rising fuel prices, and keeps more trucks off the region's crowded roads and highways, Langner said. A rail car carries as much as almost four tractor-trailers, and a barge has the capacity of 140 rail cars.

"Two-by-fours don't care how they get to market," he said.

The new facility is allowing Teevin to find new arrangements with some far-flung partners. The company has found a market in Stockton, Calif., for lumber and landscaping materials - a barge-load of bark dust heads there this weekend - and hopes to expand business with other California ports.

Weyerhaeuser Corp. is using the site to load logs bound for export, and nearby U.S. Gypsum plans to ship its product to Alaska and Hawaii. The facility will load sturdy basalt rock for shipping to the Marshall Islands.

Meanwhile, barges returning from Hawaii will carry garbage - sorted, dried and bailed - for transfer to a landfill in Idaho.

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