Stonerock Shipping has been exporting bulk scrap metal from the Port of Palm Beach to international steel companies in countries such as China, Malaysia and Turkey since 2014.
Last week some of that metal returned to the port from the same Turkish steel mill it where it had been sent to be transformed into new steel rebar. The rebar is slated to be used in construction projects in Miami-Dade County, the port’s executive director Manuel Almira told the port commission Thursday.
The shipment of more than 11 million pounds of steel rebar marks the first time in more than eight years that rebar has been imported to the port, and it’s the first time the port has hosted both the raw and final product of steel rebar production.
Teeters Agency & Stevedoring used patented equipment engineered by William Teeters to transfer and store the steel expected to remain at the port for 100 days.
“We hope there will be more,” Almira said. “Right now we don’t have any more space.”
Commissioner Peyton McArthur said the scrap metal is prevented from going into landfills, and that benefits Palm Beach County residents.
Despite that success, Stonerock’s metals supplier has been hampered from entering into long-term agreements because of issues with the company’s business permit with the city of Riviera Beach, Almira said.
Last year Palm Beach and Riviera Beach residents complained about a scrap pile, and Riviera Beach issued a letter telling Stonerock to stop recycling. The company, port and Riviera have been in talks.
The commission agreed Thursday to reduce Stonerock’s $506,000 a year payment to $253,000 for 2016 to reflect the operating challenge. If the company achieves 100,000 tons of shipments, the port will be paid the full $506,000.
Commission Chairman Blair Ciklin said, “I feel very optimistic now with the city that we are going to be able to get that long-term agreement, hopefully, within the next four or five months.”
The 40-year contract with Stonerock is expected to bring the port $40 million in income. The agreement calls for it to pay a minimum of $506,000 a year for the first five years and ship at least 100,000 tons.
To date the port has received approximately $2 million from Stonerock. Of that, $790,000 was paid in 2012 and 2013 when no shipments were made, said Paul Zielinski, deputy port director and chief financial officer.
In 2014 63,000 tons shipped, but the port was paid for 100,000 tons. This year Stonerock expects to ship only 24,000 tons.