The Columbiana County (Ohio) Port Authority has completed three expansion projects for privately owned river terminals as part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s 2022 Maritime Assistance Program (MAP) grant.
With a 50 percent match of funds, recipients were able to complete nearly $3 million in combined projects for their business operations on the Ohio River.
S.H. Bell Company of East Liverpool, Ohio, acquired a new Manitowoc crawler crane. Parsons Terminal Company of East Liverpool purchased two Case wheel loaders to replace existing equipment. Wellsville Terminals Company of Wellsville, Ohio, constructed a 10,000-square-foot fabric storage building.
“The new equipment allows them to be more efficient in moving the cargo from the Ohio River to their rail and road destinations,” said Penny Traina, executive director of the Columbiana County Port Authority.
She added of the S.H. Bell grant award, “In being more efficient, the new crane works faster and can take on larger orders and heavier loads increasing their order capacity.”
The new building for Wellsville Terminal added more covered storage space for the company, something Traina sees as a major need for many businesses locating along the Ohio River.
“They are able to take on many more orders from new customers, allowing them to have a broader geographic reach due to having the space to store the commodity,” she said.
While the company did not say specifically which product would be stored in the facility, Wellsville Terminal Company moves steel, coal, coke and various liquids, according to its website.
The Columbiana County Port Authority administered the grant and served as the pass-through for the funds.
“In the last couple of years, Columbiana County Port Authority has focused on efforts to increase grant funding for itself, its partners and the county,” Traina said. “In addition to helping others apply for grants, the port also helps to administer grants when appropriate, including many grants received by Columbiana County. The grant funding targets activities that work to improve the economic wellbeing and quality of life of our community by building local wealth, diversifying the economy, creating and retaining jobs and building the local tax base.”
The MAP grant program was designed exclusively for water-based freight infrastructure in Ohio. The state legislature allocated $23 million in funding each of the past two years for Ohio port authorities on Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
“Obviously we greatly appreciate the legislature’s efforts to put funding in the river and the lake specifically, but these monies were unique in that we as a port authority, a public industry, were directly able to affect a terminal, a private industry,” Traina said.
She added that the MAP program is extremely beneficial because it is specifically for upgrading infrastructure along the river.
“This grant is most importantly allowing Columbiana County Port Authority and its river terminals to stay competitive along the marine river transportation route,” she said.
Traina also talked about how the funds help to prepare the transition of the region, once a major coal producer, into one focusing on petrochemicals.
“The Wellsville Intermodal Facility, along with 18 river terminals in Columbiana County, are geographically blessed to be between the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemical plant in Monaca, Pa., and the proposed PTT Global Chemical Plant in Belmont County,” she said. “In 2018, Columbiana County moved 2.3 million tons of cargo on the Ohio River. The materials were crude, petroleum, iron, steel, coal, ores, minerals, grain, chemicals and aggregates. America’s shale energy revolution will be supported by the Ohio River increasing our cargo handling today and in the future with a specific focus on chemical, plastics, resin and polymer supply chain.”
Along with owning and operating the tri-modal facility in Wellsville, Ohio, the Columbiana County Port Authority focuses a lot of its time and energy into promoting economic development, Traina said. The port authority spends much of its efforts working with private businesses to promote development, retention, expansion and job creation, all of which are encouraged by programs like the MAP grant program, she said.
“We are geographically blessed to be right on the border of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and for the future of our region, collaboration is the key, and we all need to work together to create a better economic development base for our region,” Traina said. “It’s huge for the entire waterway transportation system, which is obviously the least expensive transportation system for commodities.”
Caption for photo: Parsons Terminal Company acquired two Case wheel loaders under the Ohio Maritime Assistance Program grant, one of three recipients located at the Columbiana County Port Authority. The port served as the pass-through for three recipients. Standing with the new equipment are (left to right) Parsons Terminal Company President Jim McClurg; Mike Milhoan, manager; Nick Sanford, territory manager for Groff Tractor; Chad Brocious, vice president for Groff Tractor; Greg Grimes, product specialist for Groff Tractor; Brittany Smith, assistant executive director for the Columbiana County Port Authority; Graham McClurg, director of sales for Parsons Terminal; Wayne Cole, manager of Seaforth Mineral; and Gary McClurg, CEO of Parsons Terminal. (Photo courtesy of the Columbiana County Port Authority)