Companies looking local

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

The Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) says there has been some interest from companies in properties in Scioto and Lawrence counties.

“We have had interest as well in Lawrence and Scioto counties,” Mike Jacoby of APEG told the Daily Times. “There is a really nice industrial corridor there kind of straddling both counties. We have had a lot of companies look at those properties in recent history. It’s not quite as active as the eastern part of the state, but there is activity and a lot of it is driven by just logistical advantages of being able to have barge and rail.”

On Monday, the Times learned Harbison Walker International (HWI), the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the U.S., has selected The Point Industrial Park in South Point, which is located in Lawrence County, Ohio as the location for construction of its new, state-of-the-art monolithic refractories manufacturing facility. The site is subject to completion of the company’s due diligence and finalization of one additional grant application that is in process.

Citing monolithics as a growth area, HWI announced in February 2017 that it is investing $30 million to build a technologically advanced monolithics plant as the next step in its strategy to continuously improve performance and respond to customers’ needs. The new facility will be one of the most technologically advanced refractories plants built in the U.S. and will be operational by early 2018.

“Unlike any other location, The Point offers unique transportation, logistics and business amenities that combine to create an ideal and cost-effective match for the requirements of our new facility,” Douglas Hall, senior vice president, Integrated Supply Chain, HarbisonWalker International, said. “The intermodal transportation features at The Point will ensure efficient delivery of raw materials from nearby suppliers and finished products to customers. The site offers efficiencies that are simply not possible elsewhere.”

Jacoby was asked if intermodal access is advantageous.

“We cover 25 counties going from Adams County all the way up to Jefferson County, past Wheeling and not too far from Pittsburgh,” Jacoby said. “Because of what’s happening with Utica Shale, we are seeing a lot of interest up in that direction for large river sites and a company from Thailand, PTT Chemical, has announced that they are evaluating a 500 acre site in Belmont County to build an ethane cracker, which takes ethane gas and turns it into polyethylene, and they have not made a final decision.”

Jacoby said the development location decisions are logistics-driven.

“Sometimes it’s bringing materials in. Sometimes it’s shipping them out,” Jacoby said. “In the case of a lot of the chemical stuff, they also want to bring in large components that are too big to put on a truck and sometimes even too big to put on a rail car, and they want to bring it in by barge.”

Jacoby said there are big cost advantages when you can (move) particularly large volumes of bulk materials. He said trucks can’t compete for those types of moves of barge and rail.

“We’ve been down there (Scioto and Lawrence countiess) several times,” Jacoby said. (Southern Ohio Port Authority Director) Jason Kester has been very aggressive in marketing that and reminding us of the assets down there and we’ve got several active projects looking at that area.”

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

[email protected]