The old Nawiliwili Bulk Sugar Plant, which was reconstructed and opened for business by Guardian Self-Storage in 2016, was originally built in 1950 for the purpose of storing raw sugar in bulk and then loading it aboard freighters, thereby eliminating the previous, more costly process of filling and shipping sugar in bags.
Located on a bluff about 100 yards from the Nawiliwili dock, the plant, with a capacity of 24,000 tons in its 300 foot long storage warehouse, cost Amfac an estimated $1,250,000.
Trucks would haul bulk sugar from the various sugar plantations to the plant’s receiving station, where it was weighed.
Then the sugar was delivered to the storage warehouse by an overhead conveyor.
After a freighter moored at the dock, a covered conveyor then transferred sugar from the storage warehouse to the dock, where gantries directed the sugar into the hold of the freighter, which would transport it to the C&H sugar refinery at Crockett, California.
Molasses was also stored in tanks and shipped from the plant.
Port operations at Ahukini, which had shipped bagged sugar since 1922, consequently closed later in 1950, yet excess sugar from the Nawiliwili bulk sugar plant was stored in a warehouse at Ahukini until 1965.
However, Port Allen continued to ship bagged sugar for several years longer to cover overflow at Nawiliwili, as well as molasses and freight.
Kauai Consolidated Terminals, Ltd. (KCT), jointly owned by Amfac and Alexander &Baldwin, was established in 1951 to handle the trucking of bulk sugar from sugar plantations to the Nawiliwili bulk sugar plant as well as stevedoring operations.
When Amfac acquired Alexander &Baldwin’s holdings at Port Allen and Nawiliwili in 1967, KCT was disbanded and a new company, Kauai Sugar Storage Co., was created to receive, store and load all sugar and molasses from Kauai’s eight plantations at Nawiliwili and also operate a tugboat service there.
Trucking was thereafter performed by Alexander &Baldwin’s Kauai Commercial Co.
Gay &Robinson acquired the bulk sugar plant from Amfac in 2001, and as Kauai’s only remaining sugar plantation, made its final sugar shipment from Nawiliwili in 2009.
Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org