WingtraOne brings more automation to Tradepoint Atlantic’s workflows

Tradepoint Atlantic is a 3300 acre (1335 ha) global industrial complex that provides access to markets across the United States. Located in Sparrows Point, Maryland, along Chesapeake Bay, this logistics center represents a transformation of industry in the area. Only 10 years ago, the site was home to the world’s largest steel plant and shipyard. It closed in 2012, and Tradepoint Atlantic purchased it in 2014 with a vision of transforming it into a multimodal global shipping and logistics hub.

It’s safe to say now that this vision has come to fruition, as the site hosts over 36 major companies like Volkswagen, Amazon, FedEx and BMW. In fact it recently signed a deal with one of the world’s largest operators of container ships to build a massive container terminal.

“We have our own marine terminal, short line railroad, and immediate access to major interstates, and [Baltimore/Washington International Airport] BWI,” said Kyle Donaldson, Sr. Project Manager, GIS/CAD, at Tradepoint Atlantic. “So you can access our site by sea, land, air and rail. We can host a diverse array of businesses from import vehicles, agriculture, equipment, raw materials, and anything that essentially moves through our nation’s supply chain.”  

 

Tradepoint Atlantic logo
Application
Camera
Country
Challenge
Dynamic worksite, variegated stages of construction projects, need for frequent overviews, massive mapping areas with featuring construction projects, stockpiles and material to manage

WingtraOne changes the game, especially for land development. Project managers can track their projects and measure millions of stockpiles. Site operations can search facility-wide aerials and track landscaping and maintenance. And developers can plan with a higher level of certainty thanks to the high-accuracy aerials and elevations.

Kyle Donaldson
Senior Project Manager, GIS/CAD, at Tradepoint Atlantic 

“It’s a very powerful tool” for a dynamic industrial zone

Tradepoint Atlantic uses their WingtraOne to survey the entire site once per month. This data has proven crucial, since the site not only involves construction, but also reclamation and general management over time. When Donaldson started at the site six years ago, he said there were obstructions both above and underground due to the steel mill that formerly occupied the site. Since then, reclamation work and expansion have been a regular part of daily operations.

“With drones, you’re not only able to locate that area,” he said. “But you’re also able to see it on a much broader scale—what was there and what the opportunities or issues are. It’s a very powerful tool that we have at our disposal. And it’s definitely been able to increase the amount that we’ve been able to do as well as reliability and confidence that we have in decision making. That’s for sure.”

The benefits this site brings spread well beyond Tradepoint Atlantic’s bottom line. Especially when you consider the employment and environmental impacts.

“The steel mill in this area was the place to work. Once that closed down, a lot of the community was impacted drastically,” Donaldson said. “That being said, since we’ve started the Tradepoint project, we’ve brought in more than 12,000 jobs, and we’re expecting about 20,000 when we have a full build out. 

Along with all that, we have a great environmental team here that can use the WingtraOne data to track cleanup progress and other operations on our site, which was a steel mill for more than 100 years. You can just imagine the environmental impact that this sort of operation has on the ground.

Kyle Donaldson
Senior Project Manager, GIS/CAD, at Tradepoint Atlantic 

Tradepoint Atlantic pilot and WingtraOne on site
Wesley Beasley, Project Manager at Tradepoint Atlantic, out mapping the industrial complex with WingtraOne.

“You have a whole company behind you”

Tradepoint Atlantic’s experience with drones did not start with WingtraOne. Like many companies, they first invested in a Phantom 4 Pro. Their experience from that point is common as well: Quadcopters proved to be helpful but limited by design in capturing large areas.

“I’ll put it this way,” Donaldson said. “We don’t think that this site, or any site this size, could be flown with a Phantom 4 Pro, simply because there’s not enough hours in the day number one. And by the time you completed it, you would be restarting it again. With WingtraOne, we cut our flight times at least in half, and we actually fly more frequently with it.”

Wingtra’s compatibility with Trimble Stratus, as well as Propeller AeroPoints and software has offered even more return on investment, Donaldson said.

“Before we would spend hours just going out and setting ground control points and have to go back and select those with the photos. It’s much more automated now than what it was when we first started.”

An often unspoken time and resource saver, customer service makes a huge difference in how useful and efficient drone technology is as it’s integrated into workflows and applied to complex projects. Donaldson offered experienced insight on this as well. 

We've worked with other companies, and in terms of support, when you can talk to an actual person and say, ‘hey, I have an issue,’ and they get right on it … it would be an understatement to say that that's incredible. It's very well known with Wingtra that you have a whole company behind you that treats your project as one of their own.

Kyle Donaldson
Senior Project Manager, GIS/CAD, at Tradepoint Atlantic 

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