Veneer plant signs agreement for sort yard

Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2000

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Gateway Forest Products will use a village Native corporation's sort yard and road to support its veneer plant and sawmill operations.

Gateway signed a deal Wednesday with Cape Fox Corp. to use its White River sort yard.

Gateway will pay Cape Fox a minimum annual fee or a volume fee for the amount of board feet processed, whichever is greater, Cape Fox Chief Executive Officer Peter Gigante told the Ketchikan Daily News. Gigante would not divulge the deal's dollar amounts.

The five-year lease comes with an option to renew for another five years, said Gigante. As part of the deal, Gateway also will sort Cape Fox logs at the White River yard. Cape Fox is not now logging any land, Gigante said.

Gateway spokesman Cliff Skillings said the White River sort yard is a logical choice for his company because it can be easily reached by road. White River is on George Inlet near Harriet Hunt Lake about 15 miles north of downtown Ketchikan.

Skillings said White River was Gateway's best option after Ketchikan Pulp Co. closed its Thorne Bay sort yard April 1.

Gateway President Jim Erickson said the lease gives the company the ability to centralize log sorting and processing. The logs that will be sorted at the mill come from all over Southeast Alaska, he said.

Gateway purchased Ketchikan Pulp Co.'s assets from Louisiana Pacific Corp. last year and operates at the former KPC site in Ward Cove.

Twenty to 30 people will be hired to operate the White River sort yard, Erickson said, and the company plans to use the site quickly.

''We'll be sorting our logs out there within the next couple of weeks,'' Erickson said.

Gateway will modify some areas of the sort yard, add truck turnouts to the White River road and make other improvements.

''By next year, we should have the flexibility to use the White River road for multiple uses,'' Gigante said.

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