CEO Stakeholder Letters
April 3, 2013
The Federal Welland set sail from the Dutch port city of Ijmuiden in mid-March bound for Cleveland with more than 13,000 tons of specialty steel and a crew from India. On Monday, April 1 – 15 days and 3400 nautical miles later – we celebrated the arrival of this Fednav Group vessel and with it the start of our 2013 international shipping season.
Spring is a time for meaningful traditions, religious and otherwise (I’m thinking the Big Dance, Opening Day and The Masters), that bring us together after the long winter. Our maritime version of a spring rite is the annual welcoming of the first ship of the season. The first ship reminds us of our Port’s role in keeping Greater Cleveland competitive by connecting regional companies and workers to suppliers and customers across the globe.
It is also a reminder of the opportunity our community has to showcase Cleveland to the international crews who ply the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Great Lakes before spending a few days docked here.
The Port of Cleveland is a particularly welcoming destination for foreign crews. They enjoy the easy access to amenities including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the West Side Market, and the restaurants along E. 4th Street.
What enhances these visits is Cleveland Seamen’s Service, a nearly 50-year-old organization of volunteers who provide services and hospitality for crews. Over the years they have done everything from serving as hospital translators for sick crew members to helping seamen talk to their families in far off countries via WiFi and Skype.
Started in 1964, Cleveland Seamen’s Service has serviced about 200,000 crew members from at least 40 countries. With the increase in cargo activity at our Port, the service needs more people to join.
This is the kind of organization that leaves both seamen and volunteers alike with unforgettable memories and new friendships. When we asked for examples, Seamen’s Service President Jim Clark and several members provided a bundle. Consider a few:
- A volunteer helped a Greek captain locate and pick up a portable x-ray machine for a doctor friend in Athens. The machine then made the voyage with the ship back to Greece.
- During a particularly bitter December, a freezing Filipino crew asked where they could get warm clothes for the balance of their voyage. Volunteers took them to a second-hand store where they bought enough inexpensive and warm clothing for the entire crew.
- A crew member whose grandfather was a clergyman in Russia wanted to visit an Orthodox church. A volunteer drove him around to numerous churches until finding one that suited the man’s needs – and in the process the two became friends.
- Volunteers took seven Japanese sailors, none of whom spoke English, to a Japanese exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The crew members were particularly enchanted by one painting of a scene they recognized.
Seamen’s Service needs more volunteers to provide services, hospitality and lasting Cleveland memories for the crews who navigate cargo vessels around the world.
Please consider joining the organization. For more information contact: 216-621-4107 or email@example.com
As always please let me know if you have any questions or comments about the Port.
I look forward to hearing from you,