Port Plans to Add Two Fabric Warehouses

By Mike Lednovich
Future locations of two fabric warehouse structures at the port.

The Port of Fernandina is ready to start building two fabric warehouses on the north end of the port property to accommodate the demands of more cargo.

Ocean Highway and Port Authority commissioners were told details of the warehouse project at their meeting Wednesday.

“We’re already at capacity at the warehouses,” said Butch Gilbert, director of operations for Savage, which manages the port. “When we have a forest product customer we have to be able to offer that service (a covered facility).”

OHPA Chairman Danny Fullwood interjected and said, “If we don’t have this space, they (customers) will go someplace else.”

According to OHPA documents, the primary products being handled for this project are paper products; pulp bales or kraft liner board.

Port Director David Kaufman said the fabric warehouses would be partially funded by a state grant. The port will start by building one 100-foot by 250-foot tent with available funding. A second tent would be erected as funding becomes available.

“The bid package is to include both tents that are separated into a Phase 1 and Phase 2 timeline,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said Savage would fund the project initially and then would be repaid by OHPA. A contract between Savage and OHPA is being written, which once formalized, will be followed by a request for proposal for engineering and construction of the fabric warehouses. That would be followed by putting the project out for bids.

“Our intent is that the placement location of the fabric warehouses will remain static for significant durations of time; however, the warehouse tents must have the ability to be efficiently relocated for minimal costs as the port’s needs evolve,” Kaufman said.

OHPA documents projected a timeline of 16 weeks for the first fabric warehouse to be ready.

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Noble Member
9 months ago

This is interesting and although appears to be a good solution for the Port’s storage problems, it does raise some red flags with regard to fire load.
Typically a temporary structure, like a tent, requires permitting. And is only that, temporary. Will proper permits and inspections be done to ensure safety. And who will do this, since technically it’s not part of the city and there’s a current lawsuit for PILOT.
The amount of combustibles that appear to be projected presents quite a large fire load. Does the area have adequate water supply (hydrants), to accommodate water flow during a fire event? And what will be the emergency response plan to a fire to prevent a possible conflagration from spreading to nearby neighborhoods during a wind drive event?
Its easy to present a storage solution. The difficulty comes within the details that must be answered to assure they are being good neighbors and thinking about the safety of nearby residents.

9 months ago

Chris244, thanks for your concern. Last year, we signed an inter-local agreement with the City that we would follow all required permitting and allow inspection by the city. The first priority of the new operator is safety and we will follow all requirements. Hope that answers your concerns.