Archived Story

Smell the coffee

Published 8:52pm Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Things are about to perk up over at the Port of Virginia, following the announcement that the facility has been approved as a location for delivery of Arabica coffee beans delivered under futures contracts arranged through IntercontinentalExchange Inc.

Folks in Suffolk have begun to wake up to the growing importance of the coffee manufacturing market to their lives. With Massimo Zanetti and Smuckers both roasting green coffee beans and packaging a variety of coffee products across a shared driveway from one another in the Wilroy Industrial Park, Suffolk is so caffeinated that it’s practically bouncing off the walls. Now that they have a chance to cut their costs by using beans delivered just down the road, the companies could find sales heating up even more.

Coffee is the second most-traded commodity in the world, behind oil. The arrangement with ICE Inc. could give it a similarly potent spot in the import-export lineup at the Port of Virginia. Coffee volumes into the port have been getting downright steamy, according to Virginia Port Authority Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director John Reinhart. In the first five months of 2014, the port handled 20 percent more beans than in all of 2013, and over 50 percent more than in all of 2012.

It seems likely the recent announcement will make coffee volumes at the port even more robust. If things continue to go well, perhaps Suffolk’s resident coffee-makers — or their neighbors over at Green Mountain in Windsor — might even find grounds for expanding their facilities.

That would be great news for a local employment picture that’s been a little tired lately.

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