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DropBox Buys Wurtland, Kentucky, Manufacturing Plant for Homeland Security Project

02/14/2019
Shipping container modification and customization company DropBox Inc. received an approximately $2.15 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security contract to build container-based scanning units to detect nuclear materials entering US ports, a project expected to create up to 30 full-time jobs at its facility in nearby Wurtland, Kentucky.

According to state officials, DropBox recently received the contract through the DHS’ Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office to assemble two On-Dock Rail Straddle Carrier Portal (ODRSCP) units. Those will be installed at Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, New Jersey. to scan incoming shipping containers for dirty bombs or other potential weapons of mass destruction. Company leaders anticipate additional contracts could be awarded in the future to outfit ports throughout the US with the new technology.

As part of the project, company leaders invested approximately $3 million to buy its facility in Wurtland, which it previously leased since 2016. DropBox also will purchase new equipment to fulfill the project requirements.

“We congratulate DropBox, Inc. on this significant DHS contract award, and we thank the company for its commitment to the commonwealth in acquiring its facility in Wurtland,” Governor Matt Bevin said. “Not only will this project create quality jobs in Northeast Kentucky, it will play a key role in keeping Americans safe at our international ports of entry. We are proud that a Kentucky company is supporting this vitally important effort, even as we further solidify our reputation as the nation’s center for engineering and manufacturing excellence.”

According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the contract has been nearly a decade in the making, and comes in response to 2010 data that indicated only 5 percent of all overseas shipping containers entering the US were scanned for radioactive material. Currently, inspection of incoming containers is labor intensive and can cause significant delays at high-traffic ports. The current system requires containers to be targeted individually for inspection and scanned manually with wands.

DropBox’s ODRSCP units will streamline the process by allowing both the straddle carrier and shipping container to pass through the unit’s high-tech, automated scanner tunnel on their way to their designated railroad car or truck.

“Senator [Rand] Paul and Governor Bevin are to be commended for their vision for Kentucky,” said Robert Slagel, President & CEO of Portable Solutions Group, parent company of DropBox. “On behalf of our nearly 130 dedicated employees, we are honored to do our part to help validate the governor’s bold vision to make the commonwealth the engineering and manufacturing hub of excellence in the world.”

DropBox Inc., a subsidiary of Portable Solutions Group, was founded in 2000 and currently employs nearly 130 people across two facilities in Kentucky. In 2010, The Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, South Carolina, selected DropBox to build a prototype ODRSCP unit. That prototype underwent further testing in Norfolk, Virginia. before it was returned to the company for minor modifications, refurbishment and additional testing. The unit currently operates at the Port of Tacoma in Washington.

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