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View Full Version : RG Steel Sparrows Point shutting down


ShortlinesUSA
05-25-2012, 06:16 PM
So, here we are at the completion of another failed attempt to keep the steel mill at Sparrows Point, MD in operation. RG Steel is the fourth owner of the mill since Bethlehem Steel's bankrupctcy in 2001.

http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2012/05/24/warn-notice-of-layoffs-issued-to-sparrows-point-steelworkers/

Many, many sources are indicating RG Steel as a whole is done, including the mills in Warren, OH and Wheeling, WV. They are out of cash and it appears no one is willing to prop them up this time. Cerberus Capital stepped in at the last minute in December 2010 with an infusion when this same situation seemingly came up out of nowhere just six short months ago, and now that cash is already gone. They have no orders, raw materials suppliers will not ship them anything without cash up front, etc.

This may spell the end for the Patapsco & Back River RR. While it seems the mills at Warren and Wheeling are marketable to a buyer, Sparrows Point may well be going cold for the last time.

JRMDC
05-25-2012, 06:25 PM
Any tips regarding making a visit up there? I haven't been in maybe a decade. IIRC correctly, access within the mill is now restricted, so no more visiting the spot where all the switchers sit prior to starting a shift.

ShortlinesUSA
05-25-2012, 09:04 PM
Correct, RG Steel put up a lot of signs clearly indicating their boundaries, and that trespassing is prohibited. It used to be sort of a gray area with previous owners, in that you could come in "the back way" and never encounter a No Trespassing sign and nothing but road signs indicating it was a Maryland State highway. You'd have a hard time talking your way out of a visit from the security folks now.

About the only method to use for a visit to the PBR is sheer luck. You can cruise the public perimeter roads, and there is an overpass at the north end of the complex which offers a nice view of the mill and tracks, though it is almost never lit properly for a move with the mill as a backdrop. They may be over at the CSX interchange yard at Grays, which is just west of I-695. You just stay on the move, look for the trains, and if you find one, grab some quick shots and move along.

I've been over there and seen nothing move all day, or 3 jobs working at once. It's really a crapshoot, to say the least.

JRMDC
05-25-2012, 11:51 PM
Thanks! Sounds like what I recall. Maybe I'll get up there sometime. I like switching operations.

ShortlinesUSA
05-26-2012, 06:24 PM
Better make it quick! The mill will be cold within a week or so, and I suspect things are already winding down. I might see you up there when they start scrapping the mill and hauling it to the Nucor mills to make steel the modern way... :sad:

ShortlinesUSA
05-26-2012, 06:26 PM
Here is a link to a very interesting article which chronicles what went wrong at RG Steel. "The Brew" has been past criticized as biased against RG Steel, but I've yet to see them post a story that didn't come true.

http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2012/05/25/six-reasons-why-the-sparrows-point-steel-mill-collapsed/

ShortlinesUSA
05-31-2012, 05:13 PM
The other shoe has dropped-- Chapter 11 filing:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/31/rgsteel-bankruptcy-idUSL1E8GV36W20120531

ShortlinesUSA
06-21-2012, 10:14 PM
And now the boot drops! I plan to ride through the area this weekend to see what is going on. Looks like the most likely outcome is area fans will observe the PBRR haul the remains of Sparrows Point out in scrap gons.

The big talk is that the Port of Baltimore will take over the area and build a massive consolidated container port. We'll see if that develops.

http://www.baltimorebrew.com/2012/06/21/with-no-buyers-in-sight-lenders-aim-to-liquidate-sparrows-point/

JRMDC
06-21-2012, 10:46 PM
Thanks for this; I'd appreciate it if you report back here after your inspection tour.

ShortlinesUSA
06-22-2012, 01:10 AM
I certainly will. Stay tuned!

ShortlinesUSA
06-25-2012, 08:54 PM
I did not make it up to Sparrows Point this weekend. However, I did pick up info through a friend indicating the PBR is still working with a skeleton crew. The railroad will likely be the last thing to go as the plant is liquidated. There will be ore pellets and other materials to ship out, plus a whole lot of scrap metal.

JRMDC
06-25-2012, 11:28 PM
thanks for the info

PLEzero
06-26-2012, 12:36 AM
I did not make it up to Sparrows Point this weekend. However, I did pick up info through a friend indicating the PBR is still working with a skeleton crew. The railroad will likely be the last thing to go as the plant is liquidated. There will be ore pellets and other materials to ship out, plus a whole lot of scrap metal.

Any idea where the aforementioned ore and scrap will go?

ShortlinesUSA
06-26-2012, 03:37 PM
Ore and scrap would be sold at auction if this indeed goes to liquidation, so could be shipped anywhere from the Ohio Valley to China. There is some talk on Baltimore Brew now indicating the Japanese are interested in the plant, but most rationale thinkers on that blog (read: the ones who have been right all through this debacle) suggest Sparrows Point is done. Official word should come down sometime in late July.

jnohallman
06-26-2012, 07:04 PM
Have there been any rumblings about what kind of environmental remediation work would have to be done to convert the site to another use?

Jon

ShortlinesUSA
06-27-2012, 03:29 AM
Absolutely. Once RG Steel ceases operations, this becomes a Superfund site. Numerous environmental issues have been cited, from water quality in the Chesapeake Bay to the onsite conditions. This is one of the reasons I think conversion from steel making to docking container ships will take probably close to 10 years...