NORTH BEND — The Super Sarah's in port, and she's got a big appetite for logs.
For a week or so, the 574-foot log ship will be at the Ko-Kwel Wharf, just north of The Mill Casino-Hotel-RV Park, taking on the 5.6 million board feet of logs that have been accumulating on the K2 Log Exports yard for a few months.
This will be the first full shipload of logs to leave the K2 dock, said Greg Aldridge, executive director for development with the Coquille Economic Development Corporation.
K2 Log Exports, LLC, is a joint venture between CEDCO, the Coquille Tribe's business arm, and Coos Bay-based Knutson Towboat Company, which has been transporting logs for a century.
Aldridge said the current load of timber comes from three large timber companies plus some small farms, all in Coos County. Most of the logs are hemlock, spruce and white fir, with some Douglas fir, alder, cedar and tanoak.
It's bound for mainland China, a journey that takes 25-28 days. Aldridge said Friday he didn't know exactly which port the ship is headed for, because K2 is just a log handling company that receives the logs from the woods and prepares them for shipping.
"Our services are purchased by a Chinese or Japanese customer," he said. That customer buys logs from local timber operators through a broker. The logs are delivered to Knutson's yard in Millington, where they are scaled (measured and graded), barked and cut to length. Then they're trucked to Ko-Kwel Wharf, where they accumulate until the load is big enough for a ship.
Aldridge said that when the operation is fully ramped up, it will employ about 22 people at the log yard and in trucking.
The Super Sarah is being loaded by longshoremen working for Stevedore Services of America. One to three gangs of 11 workers each can work on the loading at the time, depending on which holds they're loading, Aldridge said. The loading takes place during a day shift only.