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Tradepoint Atlantic shipping hub gets $9.9 million in federal funding for expansion

Tradepoint Atlantic is getting $9.9 million in federal funding to continue development of the shipping hub on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel mill in Sparrows Point, members of Maryland’s congressional delegation announced Friday.

The funding will pay to modernize the on-site rail lines, to upgrade the road network, install a modern gate complex and create a bulk import and export terminal with conveyor systems and storage domes. The work will increase efficiency and shipping at the Baltimore County site, now home to 20 companies.

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Many current tenants run warehouse and distribution operations, including Amazon, Under Armour, FedEx and Home Depot. Amazon plans to open a second distribution center there in time for this year’s holiday season, where 500 workers will pack and ship large consumer items such as sports equipment and furniture.

The new funding will help create jobs and build “a robust transportation hub that will expand commerce and opportunity throughout the region," said Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, in an announcement.

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Beyond that, the project has the potential to connect state businesses with opportunities around the world, said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, also a Democrat from Maryland.

The redevelopment project launched after the steel mill closed for good in 2012 already has created 8,000 jobs and will likely exceed a goal of 10,000 construction, manufacturing and distribution jobs, Tradepoint executives have said.

Future plans call for a retail center that would serve on-site employees and nearby neighborhoods and could include grocers, restaurants and hotels.

The infrastructure funding comes from the Department of Transportation’s new Port Infrastructure Development Program.

“This is exactly the type of job-generating investment that our constituents expect from the federal government, especially as we seek to rebuild our economy,” said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the Democrat who represents eastern Baltimore County.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski called the new funding “critical in building the infrastructure necessary to continue the redevelopment of Sparrows Point into a global logistics hub.”

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