Petroleum company plans Hendry facility

After so many years of difficult times, Hendry County may finally be attracting industry that can help pave the way to its future.

Florida Fuel Connection is planning to open a petroleum product distribution facility in Hendry County. The prospective site is in the vicinity of SR 80 and CR 833.

The county could benefit from some 300 construction jobs, over a 14-month period, and 50 full time jobs, mainly concerning bulk storage and delivery, for the proposed $300 million project. Petroleum products would mainly arrive by rail from Louisiana to be deposited for distribution by rail and truck to points in Florida.

Such a facility will require approximately 50 or so acres. Florida Fuel Connection hopes to have the facility on line in 2017. According to EDC President Gregg Gillman, permitting such a facility is a “process,” but is on track to be completed in time for the tentative construction time-line. He said that local agencies are going through a “tremendous” permitting process. Although the facility is not a “done deal,” he sees no red flags to stall the permitting process. The EDC facilitates permitting for large projects by bringing all permitting agencies together to meet with the prospective business.

Mr. Gillman also said the facility may some day supply Airglades and other area airports with fuel, when it becomes cost effective.

He added that it will be a “massive” transportation advantage for South Florida and the entire state.

Governor Rick Scott recently announced the plan to build the project last week, saying, “We are excited to announce that Florida Fuel Connection has chosen Hendry County as the best place to launch their business and create new jobs. Over the past four years, we have worked hard to create a pro-business environment that encourages growth and innovation so companies like Florida Fuel Connection can succeed. We will keep working to make Florida the number one state in the nation for businesses to grow and create jobs for our families.”

According to the company’s website, Florida Fuel Connection Chief Executive Officer John H. Armbrust explains, FFC will significantly improve the diversity, flexibility and resilience of the petroleum supply chain in Florida and Georgia, reducing the likelihood of disruption following severe weather events that create chronic supply shortages. It will also deliver substantial benefits to consumers by reducing truck traffic and highway maintenance costs, highway congestion and carbon emissions,” says Armbrust. “FFC will eliminate more than 100,000 truck transport on our highways annually and reduce Florida’s carbon footprint by an estimated 20,000 metric tons per year.

Fiberstar to expand  Production Facility
From Hendry County EDC
Clewiston, FL – Fiberstar Inc. has announced plans to expand its production facilities located adjacent to Southern Gardens Citrus in Clewiston. The facility began operations in Hendry County in 2004 and currently supports 20 employees. The facility expansion will create an additional 12 jobs over the next three years.

“In addition to the new job creation, Fiberstar’s investment in the community helps to grow our citrus industry through the development of additional products that use locally grown citrus” stated Tuesday Tritt, Chairwoman of the Hendry County Economic Development Council.

Fiberstar is a biotechnology manufacturer that creates healthy food ingredients using citrus processing byproducts. Its Citri-Fi product is an all-natural ingredient utilized in baked goods, meats and other commercial food products. The product provides health benefits through the reduction in the use of oils, eggs and artificial ingredients resulting in increased fiber and calorie reduction.

The Hendry County Economic Development Council assisted Fiberstar by facilitating the use of New Market Tax Credits which is allowing them to expand their production facility and create additional jobs due to the savings in interest costs via the NMTC program. The investment will be used to build a second production line along with building added warehouse capacity.

Patty Brant, can be reached at cbnews@newszap.com

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