OLYMPIA – The Global Wisdom is expected to dock at the Port of Olympia today, a sign that Weyerhaeuser’s Japan shipping schedule through the port remains intact after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck that country March 11.
The Federal Way-based timber company exports logs to Japan from Olympia and Longview; it generated about $232 million in log sales last year, spokesman Anthony Chavez said.
Following the quake, the company’s shipping schedule for log exports largely was unaffected by the disaster because those ships depart for port destinations south of Tokyo, he said. The disaster struck in the north.
Although it’s not clear now, the company expects to do more business with Japan once the country moves beyond the earthquake-recovery phase, Chavez said.
“We see an opportunity for logs and wood exports when they start more of the rebuilding process,” he said.
Weyerhaeuser is the port’s largest log-yard tenant, and the Global Wisdom is the seventh ship to call on the port this year. By this time last year, six ships had visited the port, marine terminal services coordinator Kim Kawada said.
Not all of the ships leaving the port have ties to Weyerhaeuser; some are carrying Pacific Lumber & Shipping logs bound for China. Pacific Lumber is a division of the Port Blakely Cos. of Seattle.
Weyerhaeuser’s lease with the port comes up for renewal in 2012, Chavez said.
“As far as projections, I can tell you that we are definitely expecting more vessels this year over last year,” Kawada said about the port. “There are five more ships on the schedule almost back-to- back after the Global departs.”
Marine terminal director Jim Amador has said that he expects 24 to 29 ships to visit the port this year.
Weyerhaeuser, which has had a business relationship with Japan since the 1920s, also has raised about $560,000 for the Red Cross in Japan, Chavez said.
The money came from its foundation and employees.
The port also approved a policy last month in which port staff members can cash out up to 40 hours of earned vacation time and donate the money to relief efforts in Japan. If everyone were to participate, the port could raise as much as $60,000.
Global Wisdom will load about 5.7 million board feet of Weyerhaeuser logs through Wednesday and depart Thursday for Japan.