• Sparrows Point Steel Plant Closing

  • Discussion pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Discussion pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Moderator: therock

  by ThirdRail7
How does this impact N&S and/or CSX in the Baltimore area?

http://northbaltimore.patch.com/article ... is-history

A brief fair use quote:

The future of more than five miles of land in Sparrows Point no longer lies in in the steel mills.

Owners of the former RG Steel plant plan to sell off a $300 million cold mill and eventually raze the buildings on the property, selling the remains for scrap. A second company that owns the land will end up being responsible for helping the county shape the future of the industrial land, according to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

"A century of steel-making as we know it has come to an end," said Kamenetz during a Thursday news conference.

Kamenetz said Hilco Trading which owns some of the buildings and equipment, "plans to liquidate every asset and bring the structures down to the ground."

The announcement brings an end to the plant that had seen its share of financial troubles dating back three decades—first as a result of cheap foriegn steel and more recently a worldwide glut of the commodity.

About 2,000 employees will lose their jobs permanently.

"We don't have any indication that these jobs will come back in the form they knew," Kamenetz said.

"We don't have hope," said the county executive, adding "we do have help."
  by gpp111
With the world wide glut of steel and a global recession, this is no surprise. The location has potential for commercial development due to its location and deep water berths. Some have said they want to expand the port of Baltimore's auto handling facilities at this location.
From what I have read over the years the iron ore was imported by ship, and until the last few years, even the coke was imported by ship, at one time from China, before their own internal demand for fossil fuels made that country into a net energy importer. Some coil steel went out by rail but a fair amount also went by truck. It is probably surprising this plant lasted as long as it did. An integrated mill without having, under the same ownership umbrella, sources for raw materials, doomed the plant, one of many many reasons why it's now gone.
  by Mike Doughney
There was once a time when the Sparrows Point mill was expected to grow and continue indefinitely. When the Baltimore Beltway was extended in the early '60's, one new bridge on the PRR line was built to allow for two tracks. An additional spur to North Point was graded, and bridge abutments were built; the abutments were recently demolished.

Bridge: http://goo.gl/maps/rlwRs

Grading for North Point Spur: http://goo.gl/maps/9xsGG
  by RailVet
The Patapsco & Back Rivers RR, serving the steel mill, is now The Baltimore Industrial Railroad. See:

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/S ... sage/47822

http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/ ... enDocument

http://aslrra.org/news___publications/V ... cleid=4928

Baltimore Industrial Railroad is the former Patapsco & Back Rivers Railroad. Its reporting mark is BDR. A Class III railroad, it serves customers in Baltimore, MD and interchanges there with CSX and Norfolk Southern. Reach them at Baltimore Industrial Railroad, P.O. Box 9, Fort Howard, MD 21052, Phone: (410) 388-7965, Fax: (410) 388-7949. Please contact Railroad Services Manager Brett Taylor at [email protected].
  by RailVet
A former P&BR EMD end cab locomotive has been spotted leaving the property. It is now numbered 904, which doesn't seem to be a former P&BR number, and it wears FMPX, a reporting mark I have not been able to identify yet. Reportedly it will move west, destination TBD.
  by mmi16
Unit was headed to Brooklyn, OH (area of Cleveland) for Ferrous Metal Processing
  by RailVet
I located a more recent P&BR roster than the one I had previously seen, and this one identifies 904 as an SW9.

EMD slugs: S1, S2, S15

EMD SW1500: 4-6, 212-213, 215, 217-218

EMD SW7: 116, 936

EMD SW9: 113, 205-206, 904

EMD SW1200: 132

EMD GP11: 8706, 8730
  by abear47
this is a old post but I think their going to use the land for auto imports.....I cant remember if it was Fiat or Hyundai........anyway the rail should find plenty of work hauling cars
  by RailVet
It's far more than just autos. A lot is going on at the site of the old steel plant. See:

https://www.tradepointatlantic.com/the-story/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.facebook.com/TradePointATL/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/ne ... uring.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryla ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Mike Doughney
I drove through there a couple of weeks ago, and saw what looked like hundreds of Procor tank cars parked on the existing rails. Some were propane cars but I couldn't tell how many. Presumably they've been stored due to the mild winter?
  by RailVet
I don't know when the first tank cars arrived, but they were there long before winter arrived. For example, see this article from June 16, 2016:

https://www.ft.com/content/bba70cd6-2dd ... 6ab29e3c95" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Excerpt: "...the yard on the site’s north side is currently hosting hundreds of rail tank cars that have no work because of the oil price fall."
  by mmi16
RailVet wrote:I don't know when the first tank cars arrived, but they were there long before winter arrived. For example, see this article from June 16, 2016:

https://www.ft.com/content/bba70cd6-2dd ... 6ab29e3c95" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Excerpt: "...the yard on the site’s north side is currently hosting hundreds of rail tank cars that have no work because of the oil price fall."
Linked site is 'for pay'.
  by RailVet
I didn't get asked to pay, but the site did prompt me to answer a couple of marketing questions, such as how much exercise I got and did I like the great outdoors. In any case, here's the text of the article:

Tradepoint Atlantic seeks to shake up US ports
June 16, 2016
By Robin Wright

It would be easy to mistake the scene at Sparrows Point, a five-square-mile waterfront site just outside Baltimore, Maryland, for a case of simple post-industrial neglect. Weeds grow around the edges of many of the quays at the port on the site, which once employed 30,000 people and was home to a steel mill. The few surviving buildings stand amid a wasteland so desolate that even the slightest wind produces conditions like a desert dust storm.

But the presence in the port of the STH Athens, a dry bulk carrying ship, testifies that the site is, slowly, coming back to life. Hilco Global and Redwood Capital, two US financial investors, are gradually turning the vast facility into a port, distribution and logistics facility named Tradepoint Atlantic.

The project promises to be the only sizeable entirely privately-owned port development on the US east coast. The investors believe the availability of so much space on a site linked to sea, rail and road transport can transform how goods are distributed around the US north-east. They expect their investments, together with those of customers, to reach $1bn over the next 10 years.

“It’s a global trade point, where we plan to do a great number of things for different industries,” says Kerry Doyle, vice-president for finance of the new venture.

Some of Tradepoint’s plans will increase competition for the nearby Port of Baltimore, owned by the public-sector Maryland Port Administration. But James White, the MPA’s executive director, welcomes the potential for the facility to attract new capital to the area and generate extra maritime traffic.

“That’s darn encouraging from where I sit — that you can grow maritime trade without having to invest government dollars,” says Mr White.

The question, according to Neil Davidson, analyst at Drewry Shipping Consultants, is whether shipping lines and other transport companies will be prepared to scrap their current arrangements and move to Tradepoint.

“There are an awful lot of very well-established container ports on the US east coast who will be very reluctant to allow any loss of market share,” he adds.

The investors have taken the site on partly because they have re-evaluated the risks and rewards of a site with such a long, complex history. Sparrows Point was operated for most of its 124 years by Bethlehem Steel, a steel producer that left the site littered with potentially harmful substances when it filed for bankruptcy in 2001. A succession of subsequent owners tried and failed to make a success of the steel mill before production finally ceased with the bankruptcy of RG Steel in 2012.

Until Hilco submitted its bid in 2014, investors interested in the site were deterred by the potential costs of mounting an environmental clean-up. Hilco was consequently able to buy the site, which was sold after the Bethlehem bankruptcy for $950m, for just $72m. Redwood joined the project subsequently.

Bethlehem left behind some useful assets. For example, the yard on the site’s north side is currently hosting hundreds of rail tank cars that have no work because of the oil price fall.

Michael Moore, chief executive of the project, highlights how Bethlehem built more than 100 miles of rail track, connected to both Norfolk Southern and CSX, the eastern US’s two biggest railroads, as well as the site’s port facilities.

The transport connections are already producing new customers. Work is under way near the rail yard on a new logistics facility for FedEx, the express parcel service, which was attracted by the site’s direct connection to the US interstate highway network. This month, Tradepoint announced a deal with Pasha Automotive Services, which handles car imports for manufacturers, to start landing vehicles for Fiat Chrysler at Tradepoint from July.

Space at Tradepoint is so plentiful, according to Mr Moore, that it should allow companies like Pasha to cut out calls at other ports in the north-eastern US and run their distribution from Sparrows Point.

“We can consolidate cars here [heading everywhere] from Virginia to Newark,” Mr Moore says. “That’s a huge differentiator.”

There remains considerable uncertainty for the project. While the investors have not disclosed how much they have put into the project so far, Mr Doyle is only now embarking on raising the business’s first outside capital. It also remains uncertain, according to Mr Davidson, how traffic patterns on the US east coast will change once the Panama Canal expands to allow larger vessels later this month.

The “$64,000 question”, Mr Davidson says, is whether US east coast ports gain market share from west coast rivals.

Nevertheless, Mr Doyle predicts the project will not only transform goods movements in its immediate area but also provide a model for other, similar sites in the future.

“We see this as an investment thesis,” he says. “We feel this can be replicated elsewhere.”
  by RailVet
Here's a piece on the railroad from a Spring 2017 issue of Straight to the Point, a newsletter from Tradepoint Atlantic:

Full Steam Ahead at Tradepoint Rail

The transportation sector is constantly in flux, but one thing never changes: the need for rail. We’ve been crisscrossing the Sparrows Point site with improved rails for months – with over 2,000 railcars in storage and 35,000 feet of track revitalized and 3,800 feet of newly created track. Now we’re positioned to serve our short-line railroad as well as connect to some of the country’s leading rail systems. Already, Atlantic Forest Products has moved over 230 railcars of lumber.

Since the fall, we’ve hired six new employees. Tactical Cleaning Company,* added as a vendor for rail car cleaning, has begun hiring local talent to work onsite. The Andersons Rail Group has also come onsite for railcar repair and is expected to begin hiring soon.

*The newsletter called this company "Tactical Car Cleaning" but I believe "Tactical Cleaning Company" is its actual name.

Here's some information on the two companies mentioned:

Tactical Cleaning Company
http://www.regs-llc.com/railcar.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Andersons Rail Group
http://www.andersonsrail.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;