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United Freezer and Storage awarded grant for rail improvements

March 25, 2020
The Town Crier

On March 18, in Columbus, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) awarded United Freezer and Storage Company (UFSCO) a $21,000 grant to support proposed rail upgrades at its Austintown Township facility. The grant will assist with $42,000 worth of improvements to a rail spur on site that will enable the company to receive 72-foot rail cars. By expanding rail capabilities, UFSCO will be able to provide a higher level of service to customers and secure new business opportunities.

UFSCO was founded in 1950 and has operated over the years as a warehouse/distribution center providing logistics support for many local, regional and national companies and has become a leader in third-party logistics. The company houses and supports a range of businesses that operate throughout northeast Ohio, from the plastics industry to food production. UFSCO has more than 700,000 square feet of office, cold and climate-controlled storage throughout multiple buildings, with 26,000 square feet currently available for lease.

John Pendel, president of UFSCO, said, "Receiving this grant with the Regional Chamber's assistance is just plain awesome. As a small regional player in the third-party warehousing arena, this grant is very important to us and will make a huge impact with securing the rail business, which is retiring the smaller 50' railcars. Thank you, Ohio Rail Development Commission."

As a result of ongoing work with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, UFSCO reached out to inquire about potential support for expansion of its services. After learning of the opportunity, the Regional Chamber introduced UFS to the ORDC to discuss the project. Shea MacMillan, the Chamber's manager of Business Development, added, "This project is a great example of why our engagement with our local industries and economic development partners in Columbus is so important. Our companies are hard at work and focused on their business, and we step in to introduce them to resources like the ORDC to support their growth and competitiveness."

The ORDC, an independent commission within the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), represents the state in non-regulatory interactions with the railroad industry and funds safety improvements at railroad-highway grade crossings; supports rail-related economic development efforts; and coordinates railroad interactions with ODOT highway projects.

Matthew Dietrich, executive director of the ORDC, said, "This project is an excellent example of how the ORDC can help companies maximize the benefits of rail transportation for their logistics needs. As a result of ORDC involvement, United Freezer and Storage Company will be even better equipped to serve its customers at the Meridian Road facility. We are excited to be a part of this project."

With many local companies currently utilizing rail or considering future use to receive raw materials or transport their manufactured goods, having access to quality service and infrastructure is vitally important to their bottom line. Given the Valley's abundance of rail lines and operators, the Regional Chamber has identified more than 100 businesses that may benefit from the maintenance of rail service in this region-United Freezer and Storage among them. The Chamber plans to continue outreach to companies to ensure they are aware of the many resources available to support their retention or growth.



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