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CEO Stakeholder Letters

February 28, 2014

Dear Port Stakeholder:

At one of our recent team meetings, the Port of Cleveland staff dedicated some time to reflecting on how we could measure our progress last year on the goals set forth in our strategic vision. What we discovered was that 2013 was a banner year for us – in maritime, development finance, and our environmental agendas.

I wanted to share just the “top ten” of those successes from last year with the community, and thank you all once again for your support of Issue 82 and your confidence in our Port. Here are a few of the ways we put public dollars to good use in 2013:

  1. Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service to Europe: We dedicated major time and energy to establishing the Great Lakes’ only regularly scheduled international shipping option, and it paid off.  This April, we will launch our liner service to Europe, and studies show an expected increase of  $50 million in economic activity and hundreds of new jobs.
  2. Major Increase in Tonnage: The total tonnage shipped through the Port in 2013 was up significantly – more than 20% from the previous year.  With our new liner service, we only expect that figure to increase in 2014.
  3. New Strategic Headquarters: We shifted our headquarters from an office space in the central business district to a strategically located space on West 9th Street, directly adjacent to our maritime operations. This move provides increased efficiencies, and a key presence and symbolic link to our primary focus on maritime commerce.
  4. Banner Year for Development Finance: With major projects including the Cuyahoga County Headquarters building, the expansion of Beaumont School, and the OMNOVA headquarters building in Beachwood coming to fruition, we continued to leverage major private dollars to support critical economic development projects.
  5. Nature Preserve as International Destination: We recently celebrated our 30,000th visitor at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, with many arriving from all over the world, while adding critical infrastructure, including a new scenic overlook and doubling the miles of trails on site.
  6. Creative Solutions for Sediment: We moved forward with our creative, cost effective plan to keep the Cuyahoga River open for ships while reducing the costs and space needed to dispose of dredgings.
  7. Stabilizing Franklin Hill: While the instability of this key stretch of Cuyahoga riverbank is a threat to our shipping channel and the environment, our geotechnical assessment determined that the situation is not as dire as previously thought. We continued to craft a plan that will provide a long term, cost effective solution, and expect more headway soon.
  8. Bulkhead Assessment: We completed a comprehensive inventory and assessment of every bulkhead on the Cuyahoga. With in depth information on the status of every inch along the entire shipping channel, we’ve taken a key step in developing a holistic plan to address a critical river issue.
  9. Culmination of Steelyard Commons: We facilitated the final installments on our first New Markets tax credit project — the Steelyard Commons retail center in Cleveland’s Flats—and celebrated once again the impact of this major economic engine and community amenity for Cleveland.
  10. Generating Community Support for Our Mission: With the passage of Issue 82, we were honored and humbled by the continued support of this community for our mission of economic development.  We remain dedicated to our core focus on maritime, while providing key financing options, and acting as an important environmental steward and advocate for our waterfronts.

While 2013 was a banner year, we are not resting on our laurels.  We plan to build on our momentum in our strategic focus areas, and look forward to keeping you informed of our successes.

As always please let me know if you have any questions or comments about the Port.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Will Friedman

President  & CEO



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