Area Development
Universal Trade Solutions Inc. and its affiliate, Fraley & Schilling Inc., have announced plans to open a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. The $10 million investment is expected to create 100 jobs.

Company President John McCracken said proximity to the Port of Charleston was a major factor in choosing South Carolina, as was the 10,000-sq.-ft. warehouse it bought for the project.

Universal Trade and its affiliate will service up to 10 metal companies in the Southeast and conduct metal processing for bigger steel firms from the SC facility. In Baltimore where the firm is based, Universal Trade primarily handles aluminum, steel bar products, carbon flat-rolled steel, stainless steel and tinplate products. In Orangeburg, 15% of its business will be metals export and import activity.

"Having the right location is crucially important to the success of operations," said McCracken. "Orangeburg County had a building available to suit our needs, and also provided us with access to a rail spur and close proximity to a major port in Charleston."

South Carolina's Commerce Department gave the firm a $500,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant. The company also has been approved for job development credits.

"We are excited to have this new manufacturing facility processing steel products and distributing goods nationally as well as to the world via the Port of Charleston," said Central SC Alliance Chairman Jim Apple. "Job creation is the key to improving the quality of life in Central South Carolina and Orangeburg County."