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Industrial Development Briefs: UIPA, U.S. Energy

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) approves resolution to create Spanish Fork Verk Industrial Park. Also, U.S. Energy expands its freight service and refined products offerings in Las Vegas.

The UIPA Board of Directors on July 17 unanimously approved the Verk Industrial Park Project Area resolution, creating Utah’s third inland port.

According to UIPA, the Verk Industrial Park Project Area—a nod to Spanish Fork’s Icelandic heritage (Verk is Icelandic for “work”)—is situated west of the 1-15 corridor with direct access to freeway via SR 77 and holds a “strategic location” with connectivity to Interstate 15, US Highway 6, Union Pacific (UP) and an adjacent General Aviation Municipal Airport. By leveraging these transportation assets, UIPA says the project aims to “improve freight movement, optimize logistical assets and create new opportunities throughout the region.”

Utah County growth projections place it among the fastest growing counties in the state, solidifying it as the second most populated county after Salt Lake. Spanish Fork, UIPA says, offers a “unique advantage as a strategic hub” for freight transportation to and from major ports, such as LA and Long Beach. By leveraging its location, cargo that would typically pass through Utah County and Salt Lake County can be processed locally in Spanish Fork for efficient distribution.

“We are honored to be invited by the city of Spanish Fork to help establish the Verk Industrial Park Project Area,” UIPA Board Chair Miles Hansen. “This partnership represents a tremendous opportunity to drive positive change, foster economic growth and create a sustainable logistics future for both the local community and the broader region. We are committed to working closely with stakeholders to unlock the full potential of this project and deliver long-lasting benefits for generations to come.”

“Spanish Fork has the opportunity to play a critical role in Utah’s economic and logistics strategy, without sacrificing its heritage and environment,” said Spanish Fork Mayor Mike Mendenhall. “Progress is being made, while still protecting property owner rights and respecting sensitive lands. The Verk Industrial Park aligns perfectly with our city’s general plan and zoning objectives. Verk Industrial Park will be instrumental in creating an economic focal point for high-wage jobs, which will allow for enhanced economic opportunities and a better quality of life for those living in and around Spanish Fork. We are the ‘Home of Pride and Progress,’ where both can live in harmony.”

Utah County Commissioner, Brandon Gordon, emphasized the project’s significance in bolstering the regional economy and attracting high-tech advanced manufacturing jobs to the region, while also providing economic balance to the other strong industries in the County. “Sustainable growth in the Utah County region will require investments in multi-modal options for both public transportation and the movement of goods. This Project Area will allow regional businesses to better utilize its existing rail options and ensure less pollutants that stem from dependency on the roadways for truck transit,” he said.

U.S. Energy, a provider of refined products, alternative fuels, and environmental credits, announced July 19 that it has signed a long-term agreement with Edgewood Renewables, a developer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects, to operate a rail transload facility and refined products bulk plant in northern Las Vegas.

Strategically located two miles from the Kinder Morgan Calnev pipeline and terminal, this facility, U.S. Energy says, will help combat the region’s inbound pipeline capacity constraint from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. The onsite bulk plant delivers additional refined product storage capacity, rack access and room for growth to accommodate specialty products, such as avgas, jet fuel and boutique gasoline blends. Known for operating best-in-class assets, U.S. Energy says it will “ensure a fast, clean, and safe experience for its customers.”

Beginning Aug. 1, 2023, U.S. Energy will have exclusive operating rights to the rail and transload assets in addition to the bulk plant. Combined with its 30-plus terminal network, logistics expertise, trading capabilities, fuel marketing and branding services, the company says it is looking forward to the opportunities this facility can provide to the market.

“We’re excited to leverage this property to supply refined products to the region and also expand our transloading and freight service offering,” said U.S. Energy President Mike Koel. “Coordinating the movement of energy throughout the supply chain has been a core capability of ours for more than 70 years. Using this strength to help customers move their products throughout the region is something we look forward to.”

“We chose this opportunity to expand our rail business because the transload facility can accommodate roughly 60 cars at a time—allowing for manifest railcars to be transloaded in an expedited manner without resulting in supply disruptions or operational inefficiencies,” said U.S. Energy Director of Rail Trading and Operations Katie Eckersley. “Due to the location and size of this facility, we are seeking customers that need to move freight via rail—both refined products and other goods such as lumber, steel, and dry bulk to name a few.”

“We are thrilled to partner with U.S. Energy to help us maximize the terminal site and solve for market constraints for refined products in the short term,” Edgewood Renewables CEO Stephen Harrington. “We are equally excited to have U.S. Energy as our long-term partner as Edgewood completes its renewable diesel (RD) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) refinery and terminal strategically located at the North Las Vegas, Nevada site.”

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