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Portsmouth's Iconic Scrap Piles Are Gone For Good

Emily Corwin

The last of the scrap metal has been loaded onto a cargo ship and is headed out of Portsmouth this weekend. The scrap company Grimmel Industries had operated on the port for about 10 years. 

The Pease Development Authority voted earlier this year not to renew the scrap company’s lease after years of pressure from  the scrap yard's neighbors and environmental advocates.

Initially, the yard will be used as a staging area during construction of the new Sarah Long Bridge.  While that is happening, Port Director Geno Marconi says, he will seek out the next tenant. "This is a marine transportation facility, and I will be looking for marine transportation uses for this terminal," says Marconi. 

Marconi says that could include other cargo operations, including another scrap company.

Without scrap or other cargo, local tugboat operators, longshoremen and marine pilots say they expect revenue losses. Marine pilot Dick Holt says piloting cargo ships to and from the scrap yard provided 10 percent of his company's annual revenue. "A lot of people are going to lose money over this," he says. 

While he has heard Marconi promise a maritime-related industry will move in eventually, Holt is cynical. "While the scrap was there, was it not possible to also do something else besides scrap and salt?" Holt asks.  "They'd be doing it if they could."

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