CLEVELAND, OH- The Cleveland-Europe Express freight shipping service between Cleveland Harbor and Europe via the Saint Lawrence Seaway will begin in Spring 2014, according to a charter agreement with The Spliethoff Group approved by The Port of Cleveland Board of Directors on Thursday, November 21.
The Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service will be the only regular, scheduled international container service on the Great Lakes. The fuel-efficient, multi-purpose ships will also have room for non-containerized cargoes.
William Friedman, president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland, said that the service will be the fastest and greenest route between Europe and North America’s heartland, allowing 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. Full Press Release 2013.11.21 Spliethoff
CLEVELAND, OH- The Port of Cleveland’s Board of Directors voted today to help support more than $400 million in downtown Cleveland redevelopment projects.
At its monthly board meeting, The Port approved:
- Issuing up to $97 million in lease revenue and tax increment financing bonds for Phase II of the Flats East Bank project. Total project costs are estimated at $149 million.
- Issuing up to $57 million in lease revenue and tax increment financing bonds for the development of “The 9”, a mixed-use development adjacent to the new County Headquarters. Total project costs are estimated at $171 million.
- Granting a leasehold interest in the Optima-Sage hotel project to continue the development of the $73 million redevelopment of the former Crowne Plaza hotel”.
William Friedman, president and CEO of the Port of Cleveland, said it is part of the Port’s mission to finance development through the sale of project revenue bonds to private investors. The Port of Cleveland is the only local government agency whose sole mission is to spur job creation and economic vitality in Cuyahoga County. “These three projects that our Board approved today are vitally important to the redevelopment of downtown Cleveland. They will bring construction jobs, permanent jobs, tax revenues, and will change the feel of our downtown,” he said. “We’re proud to play a role in attracting private investment capital to these projects and our community.” Full Press Release 2013.11.21 Financing
William D. Friedman, President & CEO
Cleveland was founded because of our connection to the water. For over 200 years, our lake, river, and port have linked our local economy to the world, generating jobs, investment, and taxes that benefit our community immensely. The Port of Cleveland is committed to building on that strength in maritime commerce, which supports 18,000 local jobs, $1.8 billion in economic activity, and $112 million in state and local government revenues.
The Port has placed Issue 82 on the countywide fall ballot to continue its operations and support our local economy. The levy is a renewal, not a tax increase. If approved, the levy funds will exclusively support current Port work in maritime and economic development and not any other new initiatives.
Because Issue 82 is a renewal and not a tax increase, property owners will continue to pay about $3.50 per year for every $100,000 in home value. Our levy represents the smallest countywide property tax, but we always realize that these are real dollars for property owners. We take our duty seriously when investing those tax dollars to ensure the best return for our Cuyahoga County residents.
The Port’s impact on the local economy is exceptional. As the only local public agency devoted exclusively to economic development, the Port provides a strong return on your dollars. For each $3.50 the Port receives from property owners, it produces nearly $2,000 in economic impact. Large local employers like Ford Motor Company, ArcelorMittal Steel, and Lincoln Electric are all more competitive globally because of our strong port. On average, 13 million tons of cargo travel through Cleveland Harbor each year to support businesses throughout our county.
Our ultimate goal is to protect and grow the quality jobs and key commerce that depend on our waterways and an active port. Issue 82 will allow the Port to continue this important work on behalf of the people of Cuyahoga County.
If you’d like to discuss any of these or other issues further, I invite you to contact me with any questions or comments.
And please encourage your colleagues and friends to subscribe to our eNewsletter (sign up at www.portofcleveland.com); follow us on Twitter (@portofcleveland); and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/ThePortofCleveland).
On the Docks
Bill Brown’s passion for all things railroad-related began as an eight-year old on a visit to relatives in Henderson, North Carolina. During that trip, he was invited to climb aboard a massive locomotive steam engine operated by his great-uncle, a railroad engineer. But Bill was too afraid to ascend the ladder. Little did he know that 50 years later, he would run his own railroad company, and help create the Port of Cleveland’s own rail line along its docks.
As co-owner and CFO of Cleveland Commercial Railroad (CCR), Bill helped establish and build a high quality, efficient, and affordable rail service that helps link local businesses to the world. Since being founded in 2004, Brown and CCR have been busy, expanding their service area by adding another rail line in 2009 and creating a subsidiary, Cleveland Harbor Belt, last year to serve the Port’s docks. And he’s fulfilling a lifelong dream while doing so.
“I always regretted wimping out as a kid by not getting on that train,” explains Brown. “I’ve been fascinated by trains ever since.” His path into the railroad world was a circuitous one, following military service as a paratrooper and company commander in Southeast Asia, an Ivy League education at Columbia, and a long, successful career as an insurance executive.
Over the years, Brown found outlets for his love of locomotives. While living in Long Island in the 1970s, he travelled to work in Manhattan via commuter train, and signed up for a program to ride in the cab of a diesel engine. “I took my five-year old son, and I was more excited than him” he said. “It was like being in a living beast—it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.”
But Brown traces his entry into the railroad industry directly to a Christmas gift he received in 2000. “My wife gave me an electric train set,” he said. “She really had no idea what she had set in motion.” Brown soon parlayed that gift it into a fulltime hobby with numerous additional sets and pieces and visits to model train stores and shows.
It was at one of those shows that Brown met Doug Fink, a 40-year railroad veteran. Fink was running a stand for the Midwestern Railway Preservation Society, a group that restores vintage rail cars. Brown joined the Society, and became friends with Fink, who helped teach him how to run an engine and obtain his conductors license. Fink also introduced Brown to another longtime railroad pro, Mike Kole, and a few years later, the three would create CCR.
In the ten years since, the Glenwillow-based company has more than tripled the number of cars it handles and people it employs. Brown is convinced that CCR has even more room to grow, and sees the Harbor Belt as a key part of the company’s strategy. “The new rail loop places the Port in a great position to do more business,” he said. “Businesses can reach half the U.S. population from here in a day or less through Cleveland.”
CCR got involved with the Port after the partners heard President and CEO Will Friedman mention the concept of a port switching line while speaking at a logistics conference. At the time, there was no way for shipments to link directly from the Port’s docks into the two major rail carriers, CSX and Norfolk Southern. Brown and his partners struck up a conversation with Friedman, offered some insight, and that conversation led to the rail loop.
The Port owns the track and CCR manages operations through Harbor Belt, which pulled its first car last October. The entire CCR team enjoys helping the Port position Cleveland in the global market. “We feel like we are part of the momentum that’s going on there,” he said. “We really enjoy the work and respect the Port’s team. We are betting on their future success.”
Even as CFO, Brown is actively involved in just about everything for CCR, from lining up clients to operating the engines, which is demanding physical work for anyone, let alone a man in his 60s. But Brown doesn’t envision slowing down anytime soon. “This does not seem like work at all,” he said. “I’d rather run a locomotive than do anything else in the world.”
To read a previous article on the Port’s launch of the rail loop, click here.
To find more information on Cleveland Commercial Railroad, click here.
Along the Water
Since being launched last fall, Flotsam and Jetsam—the Port of Cleveland’s tandem work boats—have been cleaning Cleveland’s Lakefront Harbor and the Cuyahoga River ship channel, with over 240 tons of floating debris cleared from the water. A day on the boats with their crew involves intense teamwork, an array of uniquely adapted tools, some creative thinking, and, at the end of a shift, a sense of true accomplishment.
“It’s like a ballet out here,” said Jim White the Port’s director of sustainable Infrastructure Programs, who oversees the program. “The boats work in harmony despite having a lot of factors to deal with – wind, current, the terrain surrounding the water. It’s quite a challenging environment.”
Flotsam and Jetsam work together as a seamless system, with crewmembers moving from one to the other depending on the task at hand. The boats even can be linked together to form one large platform, providing stability for more difficult tasks.
But the boats aren’t the only team at work – they are operated by a combined crew of five supplied through an agreement with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA). Those crews steer the boats, scour the lake and river to spy debris, and then pull it from the water using heavy equipment and hand tools such as rakes, poles, and grappling hooks. The floating debris ranges from small items such as plastic bottles to massive trees, limbs, and tires.
To collect large amounts of debris at once, a specially adapted mini-excavator has been secured to the deck of Flotsam, its bucket motion reversed in order to scoop, rather than dig, and its arm is fitted with a custom shovel-like attachment. Jetsam functions in part as a collection vessel where “Bagsters”™ (large fabric dumpsters with handles) are filled with debris for later disposal. Jetsam also features a small, but powerful crane used to grapple large debris and haul it onto its deck, including some tree limbs so large that crews must cut them up with a chainsaw so they can fit into the Bagsters™.
One of the most effective methods for collecting materials involves deploying yellow “booms,” long buoyant curtains that gather stray debris into a single location over a period of time. Crews can then easily collect the material from one central spot. The boats also feature water pumps and hoses that shoot powerful jets of water to push debris into a single spot for round up.
“Most of what we pull out of the water is organic material, things like waterlogged tree trunks and limbs with most of their mass setting below the surface like an iceberg,” described White. “Some weigh a few thousand pounds and run 30 feet long, but still fool boaters into thinking they’re not a threat.” If a small boat runs over one of these “iceberg” tree limbs, it can cause a ruined propeller or a dangerous fall into the water for those onboard.
“It’s great to see the Port of Cleveland taking care of the waterfront,” said Jon Stahl, president of LeanDog, a technology firm that has made its headquarters on a boat in Cleveland Harbor for the past five years. Stahl says the boats are making a difference and feels that a clean waterfront is important for local business and the city’s waterfront development plan. “Most of our clients come from other cities, so we get many opportunities to show off Cleveland,” he said. “We have one chance at a first impression and it’s far better with this service.”
The boats operate from May through mid-October, creating a cleaner, safer water environment for everyone using the harbor and river — from pleasure boaters and rowers to lakefront businesses and tourists and even local wildlife. Since being launched again this spring, the vessels have filled 168 Bagsters with over 200 tons of floating debris. Jetsam has also towed another 60 logs greater than 20 feet long and 15” in diameter, dragging them out at the Edgewater Marina Boat Ramps for disposal. One tree was over 50 feet long and 30 inches in diameter. The vessels have captured off road tires and even a derelict floating dock.
“I really enjoy working on the boats,” said Glenn Hudson, one the DCA crew members. “DCA actually has a crew waiting list to do this job because people love being on the water and helping make the lake and river cleaner and safer. It’s a great feeling to be part of that.”
Fast facts on Flotsam and Jetsam
- Flotsam is the marine term for debris that floats off sinking vessels or falls into the water (such as trees upriver). Jetsam is the marine term for items that are thrown into the water.
- The boats have done cleanup for local events such as RiverSweep and the Tall Ships Festival, and helped with the aftermath following hurricane Sandy
- “Bagsters” are 4’ x 8’ x 36” and can hold up to 3 cubic yards of debris and 3,000 pounds each.
- The basket on Flotsam’s backhoe can carry up to 400 pounds of weight
- Jetsam’s crane can pull tree limbs weighing up to 4,000 pounds from the water
- Approximately 98% of the debris the boats pick up is organic material
- Of the manmade materials collected, roughly 80% is composed of plastic bottles
- The vessels are 25’10” length x 11’ wide (beam)
- Both are aluminum, have diesel powered outdrives, and weigh over 8 tons each
- Service speed is 6.5 knots an hour
- Since being commissioned in Fall 2012, the boats have picked up approximately 250 tons of debris.
- The Boat’s service area includes the Cuyahoga Ship channel, old river channel, and inside the breakwater of Cleveland Harbor.
- Boaters can contact the flagship, Jetsam, via the port operations marine channel – VHF 73
In the Community
Just in time for fall bird migration, the Port of Cleveland and the Garden Club of Cleveland have partnered to open a new scenic overlook on the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve with dramatic views of downtown Cleveland. The Garden Club of Cleveland has given up to $50,000 to design and build the overlook, located at the northeastern edge of the preserve. “We see the addition of the scenic overlook as the perfect way to celebrate our centennial,” said Claudia Fulton of the Garden Club. “The Nature Preserve really fits with the Garden Club’s mission—it’s a trash to treasure story.”
The 88-acre Nature Preserve was formerly a facility for sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga riverbed to keep the river channel open. In 1999, material stopped being placed, and, over time, nature took over. A diverse mix of habitats includes grasslands, a forest area, meadows, mudflats, shrub lands, and wetlands evolved on the site, along with animals ranging from coyotes and minks to deer and a wide array of birds. Audubon Ohio has designated the Preserve as an Important Bird Area.
The new overlook was first envisioned through a master plan developed for the Environmental Education Collaborative (EEC), a group that included the Garden Club and others that formed to promote the use of Dike 14 as a recreation and bird watching spot and learning lab. The Port has been implementing ideas from the plan in stages, and worked with a landscape architect from the Cleveland Metroparks to lay out the overlook site.
“This is a great opportunity to bring more people, particularly students, to the Preserve, and we’re grateful to the Garden Club for helping to make it a reality,” said Linda Sternheimer, the Port’s development manager. The Port is discussing how to use the site for classes with the Shaker Nature Center and Cleveland Municipal School District.
The overlook plaza features brick pavers, an arbor with a trellis, benches, and a decorative iron railing. The ironwork was designed by renowned local artist Brinsley Tyrrell to provide an engaging visual narrative to visitors. “The goal was to tell the story of the site through our artwork,” said Tyrrell. “We’ve incorporated everything from lake vessels — a dredger, a barge, a tanker — to the creatures who now inhabit the preserve – butterflies, rabbits, minks, and, of course, birds.”
Tyrrell works with blacksmith Steve Jordan, and the pair’s previous collaborations can be seen around town at places like the Cleveland Botanical Gardens (butterfly gate), the West Park Police and Firefighter’s Memorial (decorative safety forces fence), and Mill Creek Falls Park (fence and bike rack). Tyrrell does the initial design, cutting, and bending of the iron, while Jordan handles all the welding.
The overlook is now open to the public, and Sternheimer and the Port hope it attracts even more nature lovers to the site. “It really provides an amazing, unique vista of downtown Cleveland,” she said. “The plaza can function as a small classroom, a place to stop for a break while on a hike, or just a welcoming spot to soak in the scenery and reflect on nature.”
To find more information on the Garden Club of Cleveland, click here.
To find out more about the artwork of Brinsley Tyrrell, click here.
CLEVELAND, OH- The Port of Cleveland’s Board of Directors approved on Wednesday, October 23, financing to help redevelop the former Parmatown Mall. The Port will provide up to $10 million in tax increment financing revenue bonds from the Common Bond Fund Program.
Located in Parma, eight miles southwest of downtown Cleveland, Parmatown Mall is a retail shopping mall that opened 1956. In 2012, the Cincinnati-based Phillips Edison & Co. bought the 82.5 acre site including the Parmatown Mall, an adjacent strip center, the vacant Macy’s building, and two office buildings. Full Press Release 2013.10.24 Shoppes at Parma
CLEVELAND, OH- The Port of Cleveland unveiled plans today to start a regularly scheduled express freight shipping service between the Cleveland Harbor and Europe, starting in April.
The Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service will be the only scheduled international container service on the Great Lakes. “Currently, local manufacturers use East Coast ports to ship goods to Europe, incurring additional rail and truck costs along the way,” said Will Friedman, president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland. “The Cleveland Europe-Express will allow local companies to ship out of their own backyards, simplifying logistics and reducing shipping costs.”
The service will be the fastest and greenest route between Europe and North America’s heartland, allowing 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 Cleveland-Europe Express is estimated to carry anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 tons of cargo per year. This volume equates to approximately 10-15% of Ohio’s trade with Europe. Full Press Release – Liner Service
CLEVELAND, OH- For the second year in a row, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) honored the Port of Cleveland with its Environmental Impact Award, this year for its Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River clean-up.
The Port of Cleveland helps improve the quality of life in our region and helps safeguard two of our greatest natural assets—the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland’s Lake Erie shoreline. The Port will receive the award during AAPA’s 102nd Annual Convention and Exposition in Orlando, which runs Oct. 13-17.
The AAPA evaluation of the Port of Cleveland effort highlighted the unique characteristics of the clean-up strategy. 2013.10.15 AAPA Environmental Award Full Press Release