(Wyoming Business Report, April 27) – A new ship for the largest trona exporter in the world that will carry Wyoming soda ash abroad has a prominent Wyoming “godmother.”
Westport, Connecticut-based American Natural Soda Ash Crop., or ANSAC, recently christened its new ship with a little help from a Cowboy-country politician. The company invited U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R–Wyo.) to christen the ship as the M/V ANSAC Wyoming at the Port of Portland in Oregon.
“I was honored to be the ship’s godmother at the invitation ANSAC and to name and christen the ship as well as activate the first loading of Wyoming soda ash in the new ship,” Lummis said in a release.
In a video Lummis shared, she cut a cord with what appeared to be a hatchet to send a bottle of champagne swinging into the back of the ship. She also pressed a button that started loading the ship with Wyoming soda ash for the first time. But she appeared to get the most personal satisfaction from blowing the ship’s horn, which prompted the new “godmother” to laugh and raise her hands triumphantly in the air.
ANSAC explains on its website that it acts as the export arm of three Green River-based trona mines owned by Tronox Alkali Wyoming Corp., OCI Chemical Corp. and Tata Chemicals Partners.
The Wyoming will carry the state’s name and resources all over the world, including to ports in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Europe and Latin America. At 580 feet long and 93 feet wide, the new ship can hold 33,000 tons of processed soda ash, and will be loaded in Port Arthur, Texas, and Portland, Ore. before heading to foreign waters.
The three companies that feed ANSAC exports account for about 4 million metric tons annually, making ANSAC the largest soda ash exporter worldwide. That’s about a quarter of the mines’ total annual output. Soda ash is a versatile resource used to make glass, soap detergent, chemicals and even toothpaste.
“Trona, or soda ash, is Wyoming’s No. 1 international export,” Lummis said. “And soda ash is the No. 2 export out of the Portland, Oregon ports, so it was a great occasion … for Wyoming trona miners, for our soda ash facililties on the surface, for the railroaders who take the product to the coast … Wyoming has every reason to be proud of its No. 1 international export.”