The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Midwest Terminals of Toledo and Finance Fund were joined on 21 October by area officials for a groundbreaking ceremony of a warehouse at Ironville Terminal.This ceremony commemorates the third and final phase of construction on the 180-acre site, making it ready for business this winter. The total project cost was approximately $18 million and when completed, the project will provide up 100,000 man hours of skilled construction labour for the community.

“The redevelopment of this land will provide new space for unloading ships and new lay down areas for cargo, which will allow the Port of Toledo to continue as a leader on the Great Lakes,” said Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “Without the help of local, state and federal agencies who believed in this project and administered the programs to help with its financing, the redevelopment of this riverfront site would have not been possible.”

The development of Ironville was financed with public and private investment; the Port utilized a combination of state financing mechanisms along with new market tax credits to complete the multi-phased project. Finance Fund, a company that helps connect underserved communities with public and private sources of capital, provided $15.5 million in new market tax credits for the project, which made it possible to complete all three phases in such a short time frame.

The first phase of redevelopment included the installation of approximately 15,000 linear feet of rail, which were connected with the nearby Norfolk Southern rail line. Phase two included improvements to the river channel and shoreline to prepare a deep water marine dock to accommodate barges, and lake trading and ocean vessels. Approximately 65,000yd3 of sediment have been dredged to provide access to the dock face, and 520ft of the existing dock face has been improved.

Phase three includes the installation of a multi-modal delivery system. Once completed, the newly installed conveyor and material transfer system will create efficiencies through rapid freight unloading, and is capable of handling any dry bulk material. Self-unloading ships will discharge into a 65yd3 hopper, which will feed the conveying system. The conveyor terminates with a mechanized radial stacking system. Phase three also consists of the construction of a 19,000ft2 warehouse, which has a clear height of 39ft and will contain two rail spurs and an overhead crane.

The warehouse will allow Midwest Terminals to be prepared for nearly any type of business that may present itself. An additional 5,000 feet of rail for loading operations was also installed during phase three.

“The addition of the Ironville Terminal to the Port of Toledo’s foothold is great news for this region,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Once completed, the site will open up access to a second Class I railroad, which will provide customers with a more efficient and cost effective supply chain, and through this, will grow the Port of Toledo and generate more opportunity for job creation.”

Ironville Terminal, formerly known as the Chevron property, was purchased by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in 2008 for $3.4 million. The Port Authority formed a public-private partnership with Midwest Terminals of Toledo through a long term lease for the property. This acquisition made the Port of Toledo the largest land mass seaport on the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes-Seaway marine shipping industry supports 227,000 jobs in the US and Canada, generates $34 billion in business revenue, and moves 164 million metric tonnes of cargo annually on the system. The Port of Toledo supports 7,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact of over $1 billion on the local economy.