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By ALAN J. ORTBALS
p12 FedExThe FedEx Ground building in Sauget Business Park.    Development of materials handling facilities along the Sauget riverfront has been booming in recent years. Rich Sauget, Sr., president of East County Enterprises, said that it started about eight years ago when the Archer Daniels Midland Co., a global agribusiness company headquartered in Chicago, built a terminal on the river. They’ve been joined by others since.
    Seacor Marine, an international company with headquarters in Houma, La., and Dubai, has built a transfer facility on the Sauget riverfront that brings in products by truck, rail and pipeline for transfer to barges. It includes four, 100,000-gallon tanks for liquid storage.
    Seacor and ADM have been joined by Gavilon, a commodity management firm located in Omaha, Neb., that ranks 13th on the Forbes list of privately held companies. Its focus in Sauget is on its fertilizer business.
    Eagle Marine Industries has opened a facility to manufacture barges. And, David Jump, president of American Milling Co. in Cahokia, has also sold property to two global commodities companies: the Louis Dreyfus Group, headquartered in Amsterdam and Cofco Corp., a Chinese company.
    “What’s going on on the riverfront in Sauget is monstrous,” said Sauget. “These unit trains of between 80 and 120 grain cars come in.  They have hatches on the bottom to release their grain from the hopper cars and they have 24 hours to unload. A lot of these trains are moving as they are unloading. It’s hard to describe how big of an operation this is.”
    Riverfront land in Sauget and Cahokia is becoming scarce, but Sauget says there is still 450 to 500 acres available in the nearby Sauget Business Park.
    “On one side of the park is a 100-acre rail yard,” Sauget said. On another, the third busiest airport in the state of Illinois. On the east side is I-255 providing ready truck access east, west, north and south. It’s also in an Illinois Enterprise Zone and a Tax Increment Finance District. We have everything you need.”
    Some of the major tenants of Sauget Business Park are Affton Fabricating & Welding Co. Inc., the 255 Logistics Center, FedEx Ground, Gasket & Seal Fabricators Inc., Holten Meats, Hulcher Services, Mid-America Fiber Co., Peterbuilt Truck, R&L Transfer, Treehouse Foods, Stellar Manufacturing and Universal Air Filter.