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OSWEGO, NY – The Port of Oswego Authority (POA), recently held a ribbon cutting to officially open its state-of-the-art grain testing lab, part of the new $15 million Grain Export Center, said William Scriber, POA executive director.  The facility can store up to 22,000 metric tons (780,000 bushels).

“This lab is the only one of its kind among our sister Great Lakes ports,” Scriber said. “There are 15 major international ports and some 50 smaller, regional ports on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system.

“To operate the lab, which tests each load of grain delivered to the Port, we have collaborated with SUNY Oswego and the program is directed by professor Cleane Medeiros, Ph.D., director, Agricultural Testing and Analysis Laboratories, who staffs the lab with paid student interns. The interns’ majors range from chemistry and biochemistry to biology and zoology. We appreciate their assistance and support, while the students gain valuable experience in the field.” Equipment for both the lab at the port and a student training lab on campus, was provided by a $250,000 grant from the New York State Dept. of Agriculture. Students who participate are part of SUNY Oswego’s new Microcredentialing Program for grain testing and analysis, which makes students more marketable and competitive when seeking top jobs in their field.

The lab handles as many as 40 trucks per day, Medeiros said.  It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to check each truck’s load

“In that short span of time, we test four major areas,” Medeiros said. “Moisture level in each load is extremely important because too much moisture can lead to the grain overheating in storage or transport. We also test for damaged grain, which could have heat damage or other issues, and for broken corn and toxins such as vomitoxin. Vomitoxin is exactly what it sounds like. If corn with this toxin is used in food products for humans, they can become violently ill.

“In addition to the priceless ‘real world’ experience they receive, students also have opportunities for employment right after they graduate. One of our students, for example, interviewed for a position this spring with The Andersons, Inc., with whom the Port has a major grain contract.”

Oswego, for many years, was a major player both regionally and nationally in grain exports, Scriber said. “This ended the in the early 1980s, when the Port’s west pier grain silos were demolished. We aim to bring Oswego back to its prominent position as a major Northeast grain exporter to international markets.

“Because local farmers can deliver their grain locally—instead of trucking them to Ohio or Baltimore— with a relatively short haul to the Port and water transport, this moves 4, 513 truck trips off the road and equates to almost $95,470 in saved road repair costs in the first five years,” Scriber said. “Ships are the most environmentally friendly way to transport goods. For every gallon of fuel per ton of cargo, a ship emits less greenhouse gasses than either truck or rail.”

About 100 farmers from Oswego County and Central New York recently made the first deliveries to the Port export center. It’s part of a recent agreement the Port signed with The Andersons, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE), Maumee, OH,  to lease the Port’s 780,000-bushel grain storage facility and export the grain on vessels to Europe and Africa. “Oswego is home to the largest facility of its kind on Lake Ontario and the most technologically advanced handling system in New York State and on the Great Lakes and has an on-site USDA lab. This system can unload a truckload of grain (35,000 lbs.) in less than a minute, and it can load a railcar  (100 tons of grain) in just eight minutes. This reduced unloading time allows farmers the ability to flow more grain into the facility.”           

The Grain Export Center was funded by the New York State Department of Transportation through a $15 million grant. Construction of the facility has involved scores of local workers and tradespeople, Scriber said.

A 2018 economic impact study commissioned by the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership documented that the in 2017, the Port of Oswego supported 209 jobs, $26.7 million in economic activity, $13.8 million in personal income and local consumption expenditures, and $5.8 million in federal and state tax revenue. As a result of the Port’s steadily growing activity, it recently received the 2021 Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation—for the third time in the past four years. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the pacesetter award, which was established in 1992 to recognize the achievements of U.S. ports whose activities result in increasing international tonnage shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway, excluding Canada, in comparison with the previous year.

 “We are accessible from any international port in the world,” Scriber said. “That’s why we are one of the most productive ports in America, with more than one million tons of cargo—from grain and aluminum ingots to windmill generator parts— moving through the port on an annual basis. “

The historical port is also home to the Oswego Marina, the H. Lee White Marine Museum, historic maritime district, and fourteen companies that call it home for its domestic and international operations. The Port of Oswego's strategic location at the crossroads of the Northeastern North American shipping market, puts them less than 350 miles from 60 million people. As one of the most productive ports in North America with nearly 120 vessels and more than one million tons of cargo moving through the port on an annual basis, the Port is a leader not only in domestic shipping, but also international shipping.

For more information, visit www.portoswego.com

PHOTO: The Port of Oswego Authority (POA), recently held a ribbon cutting to officially open its state-of-the-art grain testing lab, part of the new $15 million Grain Export Center, said William Scriber, POA executive director. The lab is operated by paid student interns from SUNY Oswego.  On-hand for the event were, from left: Scott Furlong, SUNY Oswego; intern Jon’ Rene Jones; intern Flemmie Tyson Jones; Pat McMahon, POA supervisor, development & maintenance; Scriber; Francis Enwright, chairperson, POA board of directors; SUNY Oswego Professor Cleane Medeiros, Ph.D., director, Agricultural Testing and Analysis Laboratories; intern Sean Erhardt; Jill Pippin, SUNY Oswego; intern Lindsay Fluman; Connie Cosemento, vice-chairperson, POA board of directors; and Brenna Sherman, Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.


Post Date

May 17th 2022