The ancient Sparrows Point terminal in Baltimore, which eight days ago announced a rebranding as "Tradepoint Atlantic" with plans to build a global logistics hub on 3,100 acres, said today that FedEx Ground, the ground delivery unit of FedEx Corp., will build a 300,000-square-foot distribution facility there.
The facility, scheduled to open in August 2017, will join existing FedEx Ground's Baltimore-area stations in White Marsh and Halethorpe, Md., said Tradepoint Atlantic, the developer, manager, and owner of the hub, which for decades was a manufacturing plant for the old Bethlehem Steel Co.
The FedEx Ground facility will be built on 50 acres of ground leased to Indianapolis-based developer Scannell Properties, which is developing the distribution center.
The Tradepoint Atlantic complex, located in southeastern Baltimore county, is near the Port of Baltimore. Baltimore and the Port of Norfolk are the only two mid-Atlantic ports with water depth of 50 feet or deeper, which is considered a required draft to accommodate fully laden megavessels. It is also in close proximity to a short-line railroad that connects to CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp., the two largest eastern rails. It connects with Interstate 695, which functions as Baltimore's Beltway, which, in turn, feeds Interstates 95 and 70.
Use of the Sparrows Point property dates back to 1887, when the Pennsylvania Steel Co. acquired the land to make iron. Pennsylvania Steel was subsequently reorganized under the name of Maryland Steel Co., and was acquired by Bethlehem in 1916. By 1958, the plant was the nation's largest steel mill, and the world's largest tin producer. In ensuing decades, however, Bethlehem's influence waned as foreign competition eroded American steel's dominance, plastic replaced steel for a large portion of auto and manufacturing, and aluminum replaced tin as the metal of choice for packaging. Bethlehem filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, and steelmaking ceased at Sparrows Point in 2012.
Two years later, Sparrows Point Terminal LLC bought the site with plans to redevelop it as a major East Coast distribution hub.