Hands down the best part of my job are the places I get to visit. I especially enjoy visiting the historical significant industrial sites along the Ohio River that are striving towards a renaissance – or at least a renewal.
Which brings me to my tour last Friday of Middleton Warehousing Solutions in Aliquippa, PA. The company is managing 250K square feet of bulk handing and storage inside two of Jones and Laughlin Steel Company‘s old manufacturing buildings.
For those not familiar with Aliquippa, it is about thirty minutes northwest of Pittsburgh and is one of the many steel mill towns along the Ohio River doing great work on resurrecting themselves from the ghosts of its past. Originally built around the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company in 1905, Aliquippa has seen over a 60% drop in population since the mill closed in the 1970s.
I spent two hours meeting with Jim Lambert, General Manger of Middleton Warehousing Solutions and Ryan Walker, CEO of Carbon Graphite Materials, discussing warehousing and material handling options at their facility just south of where the Ohio River bends westward on its long journey to the Mississippi River.
Click here for a link to Jim’s bio.
As I was touring the facility I was impressed at how well the building is being maintained. Unlike many structures from that era, the ceiling, doors and cranes are all in working condition. It is clear the owners have invested in the building’s maintenance and operations. For example, all 250K square feet of the indoor storage is still serviced by the six heavy lift cranes.
It is a real credit to the leaders in the community that they had the foresight not to sell every structure on the site to scrappers for the steel and copper like so many other hard-pressed communities along the river. Spaces like this are getting harder and harder to find and properly leveraged can be an incredible asset to a community.
Visit CASTLO outside Youngstown for another great example. More on their work at a later time.
Outside the two parallell buildings there are eleven acres available for storage and would make a great location for staging containers or equipment like drilling pipes or storage tanks.
Click here for an arial of the location.
Currently Jim and his team manage bulk mill scale, coke, alloys and silica. They are also set up to screen, dry and package bulk goods into 2K pound supersacks, 50 and 100 pound bags. As they are trying to grow their business this might be an excellent location for natural gas drillers to store frac sand, pipe and other equipment.
Logistically the site is well situated to be service and is easily serviced by truck, rail and barge.
By truck it is twenty minutes to the Pittsburgh International Airport; thirty minutes to downtown Pittsburgh or the Ohio/PA Turnpike; forty minutes to Weirton, WV or the 70/79 split; and sixty minutes to the 79/80 split. With the exception of a few miles close to the warehouse it is all good four-lane.
The Genesee & Wyoming Inc.’s short line Aliquippa & Ohio River Railroad (AOR) manages the six-miles of tracks and yard that interchanges with CSX Transportation. AOR maintains the transfer yard and the tracks leading to Middelton Warehousing Solutions.
The building has 100 feet of rail inside and 1,000 feet of rail running alongside the building. Although there are no restrictions on railcar type Middelton Warehousing Solutions currently only unloads gondolas and box cars. I’m sure with the right client and needs they will expand those services to include other types of cars and tankers.
About one mile from Middleton Warehousing Solutions, on a dedicated road sits their partners Aliquippa Terminals. Aliquippa Terminal manages Middleton’s barge loading and offloading. The terminal sits at Ohio River Milepost 16.8 and provides an enclosed overhead river crane for offloading/loading sensitive loads year-round as well as the hydraulic excavators, cranes and lifts expected at an established, experienced barging operations.
If you are looking for dry, well maintained indoor storage with good river and interstate access give Jim Lambert a call at 724-375-8315 or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This might be an excellent option.
Below are some pictures of Middleton Warehousing Solutions.
Besides steel, historically it appears that Aliquippa’s major exports have been athletes and the AMAZING composer and musician Henry Mancini. There must be something in the water. Athletes include:
- Jonathan Baldwin, National Football League player
- Tommie Campbell, National Football League player
- Mike Ditka, National Football League Hall-of-Fame player
- Tony Dorsett National Football League Hall-of-Fame Player
- Sean Gilbert, NFL player
- Frank Gnup, Canadian football player and coach
- Ty Law, NFL player
- Press Maravich, basketball coach
- Pete Maravich, National Basketball Association Hall-of-Fame player
- Doc Medich, Major League Baseball player
- Darrelle Revis, NFL player
- Pete Suder, Major League Baseball player