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Joseph Smith & Sons unit starts Md. shredder

Keywords: Tags  auto shredder, Joseph Smith & Sons, European Metal Recycling, Smith Industries, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Smith Industries Inc. has started up its new auto shredder in Cumberland, Md., signaling a further inland reach for the company.

Smith, a subsidiary of Capitol Heights, Md.-based Joseph Smith & Sons Inc., itself a venture of Warrington, England-based European Metal Recycling Ltd. (EMR), fired up the shredder sometime in the past week. The company declined to comment on the investment.

Despite a nationwide shredding overcapacity, two shredder operators said the new operation might have found a niche in an area that isn’t overrun with shredders and can pull scrap from a large area. The facility, located on a 15-acre parcel less than 150 miles from Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, can draw on all three metropolitan areas to secure feedstock.

Joseph Smith & Sons subsidiary Allegany Scrap Inc. was issued a permit in September from the Maryland Department of the Environment to install a 240-ton-per-hour shredder, but one source suggested the company didn’t opt for this size.

The source, who said he delivered a load to the scrapyard March 1, said the shredder appeared to be smaller than the one owned by Conservit Inc. in Hagerstown, Md. Conservit’s Metso 80/104 shredder is capable of roughly 80 tons per hour, a Conservit source said.

Allegany Scrap owns a second yard in Cumberland that has rail access. Smith’s new shredder plant doesn’t have rail access, and it is unknown whether it will install a rail spur.

Smith purchased the former Bayliner Marine Corp. facility for $825,000 in February 2012, according to Allegany County tax records. The facility was built in 1987 and is equipped with overhead cranes and warehouse loading doors.

Joseph Smith & Sons operates 17 yards, including two megashredders in Baltimore and Capitol Heights, which gives it access to domestic and export markets. The new location is a further inland move for the recycler, which will now have better access to Ohio Valley and Pittsburgh mills.

While some describe the new site as a good one strategically, one shredder operator said that with margins already under pressure, the area doesn’t need another shredding operation.

The company began acquiring permits in February 2012 to raze part of the original 90,600-square-foot building at the fully fenced brownfield site, perform site preparation and construct a new building for the shredder, as well as perform grading, a spokesman at Allegany County’s Land Development Services division said.

The property is located in a Maryland Enterprise Zone, which makes it eligible for income tax and real property tax credits. Smith hasn’t applied for any credit, according to the county’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

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