By: Catrina Leone
Big news has arrived for the Port of Cleveland! The Port welcomed the first vessel of the Cleveland-Europe Express cargo service from Antwerp, Belgium, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It is carrying cargo moving between five states and seven countries on the vessel’s first round trip voyage.
The Cleveland-Europe Express is the only regularly scheduled international container and non-containerized cargo service on the Great Lakes. It is the greenest and fastest route between Europe and North America’s heartland. This allows regional companies to ship their goods up to four days faster than using water, rail, and truck routes via the U.S. East Coast ports.
The chairman of the Port of Cleveland Board of Directors, Marc Krantz said that the service is something that the Port of Cleveland’s board members and leadership have been working on for the past 2 years. He states, ” The service takes advantage of the manufacturing strength of Northeast Ohio and the geography of the Cleveland port itself as the first major stop in the U.S on the Seaway system.”
The express ocean freight service comes at a time when cargo coming through is on the increase. President and CEO of the Port of Cleveland, Will Friedman said that in 2013 the Port had its highest annual tonnage level since 2008. Bart Peters, manager of The Spliethoff Group’s America Service says that “the goal of the Cleveland-Europe Express is to provide a more efficient method for cargo owners in the heartland of America to trade with Europe, and we believe that this first voyage is the first step in establishing a new service that will benefit companies on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Mayor Frank Jackson was also in attendance at the Press Conference. He states that Lake Erie has always been Cleveland’s most vital natural asset and an economic lifeline to the world. “The Port of Cleveland remains indispensable to the economic success of Cleveland and the other communities in Cuyahoga County. Now, the Port of Cleveland has become Midwest’s gateway to trade with Europe”, Jackson said.
The administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp, Betty Sutton, had nothing but good words to say about this new move. “It is an example of how we can use the economic and natural resources of the Great Lakes region to create new opportunities in powerful and sustainable ways” Sutton states. This new development ties directly in with The Sustainable Cleveland 2019 plan as well. Administrator Sutton honored the Port of Cleveland with the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation for year over year growth in international tonnage. The port also honored the late Arnie de La Porte. Mr de la Porte passed away in the fall of 2013. He was relentless in his promotion of global trade from Cleveland via the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The Port re-named Erieside Avenue, which runs through the Port, in his honor; it will be known as Arnie de la Porte Way.
This is very exciting news for Cleveland! Stay tuned to our “Weekly-News-Wrap up” next week, where this will be airing. To catch the Conference in its entirety, check our schedule for times!