Ethanol Giant Poet Invests in Logistics

Nation's Largest Ethanol Producer Poet Acquires Georgia Marine Terminal

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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Poet LLC announced the acquisition of a rail-to-container transload facility in Georgia. (Photo courtesy Poet LLC)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- With the ongoing battle for ethanol producers to secure shipping containers, the largest ethanol producer in the U.S. announced the acquisition of one of the largest rail-to-container terminals in the Southeast.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Poet LLC has acquired Savannah, Georgia-based Savannah Marine Terminal, according to a news release from Poet.

The acquisition will include all equipment and real estate to operate the grain transload facility, Poet said. Details about the price of the deal were not made public.

The Port of Savannah is one of the highest-volume container ports in the U.S., Poet said.

DTN Basis Analyst Mary Kennedy said the move makes sense given all the difficulties ethanol producers have faced.

"Good move on their part given how messy logistics have been and still are, especially the container side," she said.

"They have a high-end DDG product, and they need to be sure to keep it flowing to their foreign customers. It's been an ongoing struggle for container shippers, and in doing that, Poet appears to be taking matters into their own hands to at least solve their logistic issues."

According to Savannah Marine Terminal Inc.'s website, the terminal transfers grain and other bulk commodities from CSX and Norfolk Southern railcars or hopper trucks to container trucks which are driven to the port for export.

"Savannah Marine Terminal boasts a 40-acre multiplex and is capable of moving hundreds of thousands of tons of bulk material, grain, coil, oil, forest products and heavy-lift commodities per month," according to the company's website.

Savannah Marine Terminal has three warehouses with about 80,000 square feet of storage as well as a dry-storage facility.

Poet is the nation's largest ethanol-producing company with an annual production of about 3 billion gallons at 34 locations across the Corn Belt. In addition, Poet produces 14 billion pounds of distillers grains and 975 million pounds of corn oil per year. When it comes to container shipping, Poet currently is the 36th-largest shipper, according to the news release, exporting to more than 20 countries around the world.

"Poet's history is one of continual progress," Poet CEO and Founder Jeff Broin said in a statement.

"Our business is always evolving and growing. This acquisition is yet another indicator of our confidence in the future of the bioeconomy. We look forward to bringing the Savannah team onboard and to the opportunities this facility will create to ensure that our growing suite of plant-based bioproducts is available to consumers across the globe."

Greg Breukelman, president of Poet Bioproducts, said in a statement the acquisition of the terminal would help the company "better serve our customers all over the world, which is especially important as we face global supply chain challenges."

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Todd Neeley

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