Panama City Port celebrates its first shipment to Japan


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Port of Panama City celebrated a monumental day Wednesday as their first shipment directly to Japan set to leave Friday.

The Port of Panama City has been exporting wood pellets from the production plant in Cottondale since 2008, Enviva has owned that pellet plant since 2015.

The wood pellets provide a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels around the world, helping the environment.

The facility in Cottondale has been helping to make environmentally friendly wood pellets for years. And now, that pellet business from Jackson County operating through the Port is expanding internationally.

“Hopefully this will be something that continues on,” said Port Authority Board Chairman, Harvey Hollingsworth.

Port leaders and city officials gathered to celebrate the first voyage from the port, directly to Japan’s Iwakuni port. Leaders of the Port Authority say they have been working with Japanese companies for years, but now the business exchanges between the two is finally coming to fruition.

“It’s first of many ships for our Japanese customers as we continue to grow the business and provide sustainable energy solutions for customers around the world,” said Enviva Operations Executive Vice President, Royal Smith.

They are looking forward to expanding the services from here to Japan as that country continues its efforts towards renewable energy sources.

“By 2050 Japan expects to be completely carbon-neutral as a country,” said Smith.

The Port of Panama City has dealt with over 7 million tons of wood pellets, helping to create more job opportunities and increasing economic activity.

“So we are looking forward to the expansion of this service here and further use of the port and also the development of more and more jobs that support this effort,” said Hollingsworth.

The boat carrying nearly 28 thousand tons of pellets will set sail from the Port on Friday morning.

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