In 1951, Acrow Bridge began manufacturing modular steel bridges, a revolutionary technology that was first developed during World War II. These bridges can be constructed in rural communities without the use of heavy equipment, connecting people to schools, hospitals, and other places, as well as enhancing economic opportunities.
Acrow Bridge sought opportunities to export to two countries in sub-Saharan Africa - Cameroon and Zambia - where bridges were needed to link commercial routes to underdeveloped areas. However, the company was unable to find private sector lenders who were willing to provide competitive buyer financing.
The company turned to EXIM to help level the playing field. Satisfied that there was a reasonable assurance of repayment and that the transaction would support US workers, EXIM partnered with a private sector lender to guarantee two loans that supported the export of 55 Acrow bridges to Cameroon and 144 Acrow bridges to Zambia.
Thanks to the availability of EXIM's financing, Acrow Bridge was able to compete based on the quality of their product. As a result, proposals from Acrow Bridge were chosen over bids submitted by their European and Chinese competitors. By winning these contracts, Acrow Bridge has been able to establish a foothold in these markets, creating new opportunities to grow its exports of American-made bridges.
The exported bridges — built at Acrow's manufacturing facilities in Parsippany, New Jersey; Milton, Pennsylvania; and New Castle, Delaware — are estimated to support approximately 200 jobs at Acrow Bridge and hundreds more throughout the company's supply chain.