08/23/09 — Bunge North America building in Duplin

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Bunge North America building in Duplin

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on August 23, 2009 2:00 AM

A major agriculture commodity industry will build its next East Coast transport hub in Duplin County, officials announced last week.

Bunge North America, which has branches dedicated to commodity oils, grain, milling, biofuel, fertilizer and oilseed processing, is in the final stages of preparing to enter into an economic development agreement with Duplin County. If finalized, the company will receive an 80 percent tax credit every year for three years after building a transport hub in the town of Teachey off of U.S. 117.

The announcement ended speculation over the Project Chest incentive program. The details of the tax incentive agreement were kept secret until the plan could be finalized, officials said.

"The company is looking to create approximately $10.5 million in tax revenue for the county, and they will create about five jobs," said Economic Development Director Heather Beard.

The company will not be conducting any kind of manufacturing operations on the site. It will only use the facility as a transport hub for shipping grain, officials said.

The company selected Duplin as the place it would like to locate, but the project is still in the process of being approved at the headquarters level of Bunge operations. The county was in competition with another state for the project, Ms. Beard said, but added that the representatives are now "excited and looking forward to being in the community."

If approved, the Teachey hub will be Bunge's first North Carolina-based operation. The company also has plants and hubs in Midwestern states including Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. Company headquarters are located in St. Louis.

Commissioners will hold another public hearing at their September meeting to solicit comments about the agreement.