Irish Town Bend stabilization presents opportunity to safeguard jobs, development and amenities

The need to stabilize Irishtown Bend remains a critical infrastructure issue for Cleveland. The section of riverbank along the Cuyahoga River threatens to collapse into the navigation channel, jeopardizing thousands of jobs in maritime-dependent industries, multi-million dollar developments, and plans for a transformative riverfront trail.

With 18,000 maritime-related jobs in Cleveland, Irish Town Bend’s instability poses a major threat to the local economy. Of particular concern are the 2,000+ jobs upstream of the site at ArcelorMittal Cleveland’s steel mill. A collapse would directly impact the mill, which needs access to key natural resources that can only be shipped efficiently by water.

Planned and in process development in nearby Ohio City could also be harmed by a collapse including the West 25th Street Lofts and the Snavely Group’s planned development for the intersection of West 25th and Detroit.

Tom McNair, executive director of Ohio City, Inc., said Irish Town Bend’s instability is a critical neighborhood issue, complicating future development in the area. But stabilizing the hillside also presents an opportunity to create a new waterfront and active living amenity.

Also, Irish Town Bend’s instability is currently holding up completion of the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail, which will connect Wendy Park to the 110-mile Towpath Trail National Park System along the Cuyahoga. That unified trail will serve as another key tourist attraction while also providing recreation and waterfront access for residents.

A Port of Cleveland-commissioned study has determined a reasonable, cost-effective solution to stabilize the bank and the Port is currently working to secure funds to put the fix into action. That includes a request for $4 million from the State of Ohio’s biennial capital budget. Those public infrastructure dollars would kick start efforts to energize additional public-private funds.

Local partners such as the Greater Cleveland Partnership has voiced support for the Port’s capital budget request, and The Plain Dealer editorial board also recently agreed on the need for public dollars to be involved.

Those interested in finding out more about this issue or attending the hearing can contact Jade Davis, Port VP of External Affairs at

Port of Cleveland Board Opens 2016 with Busy Agenda and New Trustees

Cleveland, Ohio (February 11, 2016) – The Port of Cleveland’s Board of Trustees met today to approve a busy agenda focused on development finance, maritime operations, infrastructure, and future planning. The Port also welcomed the addition of two new appointees to the Board of Trustees who bring critical expertise in business, manufacturing, and finance.

In development finance, the Board authorized the issuance of up to $80 million in bonds that will be used to fund a portion of construction costs for the One University Circle development. The project is a mixed-use, 533,000 square foot redevelopment of a 1.9-acre site in University Circle that formerly was the home of the Children’s Museum. One University Circle will include over 280 residential units for rent, along with dedicated parking and significant ground floor retail. At 20 stories and a total cost of $115 million, the project is the most significant high-rise residential project in Cleveland in decades.   Full Press Release 02.11.2016

US Army Corps of Engineers Rejects Port of Cleveland Effort to Protect Lake Erie Water Quality

Port request, supported by bipartisan Congressional coalition, would have modified federal policy to prevent open lake dumping of potentially harmful sediment

Cleveland, Ohio – February 2, 2016: The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continued its campaign to dump potentially harmful sediment into Lake Erie today when it rejected the Port of Cleveland’s request to modify federal policy to prevent the practice. The Port’s request was made as part of the USACE’s annual report to the U.S. Congress as mandated by the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).  Full Release 2.03.2016

Port of Cleveland Board of Directors Approves 2016 Budget

Board agenda also includes key maritime and development finance items  

Cleveland, Ohio (December 14, 2015) – The Port of Cleveland’s Board of Directors met last week to discuss a busy agenda, with the highlight being the approval of the Port’s 2016 budget. The new budget will maintain existing levels of revenue and spending, setting the stage for continued growth in cargo volume with steady expenses. 

“2015 has been a great year for the Port of Cleveland,” said Port of Cleveland Board Chairman Chris Ronayne. “The Board of Directors is encouraged by the progress we have made to position ourselves as a global, green port on the Great Lakes. We look forward to even greater things in 2016 as we continue to strategically invest in maritime operations that benefits our regional economy.” 2015.12.14 Full Press Release

Port of Cleveland Petitions for Federal Policy to Stop Open Lake Dumping of Cuyahoga River Sediment

Supported by bipartisan Congressional coalition, updates would protect Lake Erie from potential environmental contamination

Cleveland, Ohio November 17, 2015: The Port of Cleveland recently petitioned the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to modify the description of the Cleveland Harbor navigation project in law to prevent sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River from being placed in Lake Erie. That request has now been supported by a bipartisan group of six US Congressional Representatives from Ohio. The effort comes on the heels of a plan by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for open lake dumping of potentially contaminated river sediment in the open waters of Lake Erie.

To keep the Cuyahoga River deep enough for large commercial ships, up to 250,000 cubic yards of sediment must be dredged annually from the riverbed and harbor. Traditionally, sediment has been placed in confined disposal facilities (CDFs) due to concerns about contamination from the river’s historic industrial use and other sources. Although river sediments are now far less contaminated than in the past, recent testing still shows trace levels of the toxin PCB, which accumulates in the food chain, including Lake Erie fish.  2015.11.17 Full Press Release

Port of Cleveland Receives Pacesetter Award for “Exceptional Growth” in International Trade

Award presented as part of dynamic board agenda including maritime, infrastructure, and development finance items

Cleveland, Ohio (September 10, 2015) – The Port of Cleveland was presented with a Robert J. Lewis 2014 Pacesetter award by the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) this morning at its monthly board meeting. The Pacesetter award recognizes the dramatic growth in international cargo, generated by the Port’s Cleveland Europe Express (CEE) liner service and its traditional line of non-containerized steel cargo. Operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group, the CEE provides the Great Lakes only scheduled maritime access to European markets.  2015.09.10 Full Press Release

Energy Industry Director to Lead the Port’s Government Outreach Efforts

Cleveland, Ohio:  The Port of Cleveland has hired Jade Davis as Vice President of External Affairs.

Davis, 34, begins on September 10, 2015 and will be responsible for implementing and managing the Port’s government relations and communications efforts. The position will focus on local, state and federal issues of concern to the Port, stakeholder engagement and strategic media efforts. Davis comes from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), based in Washington DC, where he served as Senior Director of State Affairs and Outreach.  He will take on this new leadership role, beginning September 10, and will report directly to Port CEO William Friedman.  2015.08.12 Full Press Release

Port of Cleveland International Shipping Connection Reaches 30 Countries Across Four Continents

Board agenda includes milestones in maritime, development finance, infrastructure, and environmental initiatives


Cleveland, Ohio (July 9, 2015) – The Board of Directors for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority met today to receive an update on impressive maritime figures and approve an agenda including additional milestones in development financing and environmental remediation of the Cuyahoga River.  Since launching last year, the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) liner service operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group has positioned the Port as a leader on the Great Lakes, and recent data supports the value of the strategic investment.  2015.07.10 Full Press Release

Port of Cleveland Offers Fast, Efficient, and Reliable Alternative to Congested Coastal Ports

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an in-depth story on a phenomenon the Port of Cleveland’s been tracking for some time – the intense congestion at East, West, and Gulf Coast ports that is wasting time, resources, and dollars for companies shipping goods in and out of the U.S. 

As confirmed by the Journal’s report, many of these large coastal ports are stretched to and beyond capacity as massive ocean vessels carrying 10,000 plus shipping containers jam their docks. A recent study by the American Association of Port Authorities confirms this uptick in port activity, finding that the economic impact of U.S. ports is up an impressive 43% since 2007. But many ports are ill equipped to handle the growth, and government investment in port infrastructure is lagging in many markets.

Here at the Port of Cleveland, we’ve been proactive in positioning our facilities to provide a better option for shippers. We offer a competitive alternative to those looking to avoid the headaches – long delays and excess costs – that can come with the overwhelmed coastal ports. And we’ve had the benefit of better partnership with state and local government to build our infrastructure.

Our strategy starts with the Cleveland – Europe Express, our partnership with the Spliethoff Group to offer the only direct, non-stop liner service from the Great Lakes to Europe.  We’ve proven over the past two shipping seasons that our liner service saves time, money, and frustration for shippers by avoiding the large coastal ports.

While we may not sit directly on an ocean, our port still offers direct, global connection. We’re leveraging Cleveland’s position on the “Fourth Coast” – the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system – a route established over 50 years ago, but still far from reaching its potential. We’re convinced it’s time to realize the immense potential of our direct access to global markets.

Shippers are responding – this year, the liner service has doubled the number of calls it will make at the Port of Cleveland, and the total volume of cargo passing through our docks has sharply increased. But unlike our sister ports on the East, West and Gulf ports, we have room to grow and we’re ahead of the game.

To accommodate increased demand and strengthen our ability to compete, we’re building new warehouse space, repositioning existing dock space, and investing in critical equipment. As the Journal article points out, government investment in our nation’s ports has generally not kept up with their growth. But we’ve been more fortunate than most in government partnership. 

With critical support from the State of Ohio and Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), we recently began constructing a new warehouse on dock and will soon have two modern cargo cranes available to make our operations even more efficient. These were funded through a combination of grants and forgivable loans from the State and NOACA, and we’re grateful for their support of these key infrastructure investments.

As the largest of our nation’s coastal ports continue to struggle with the swell in demand, the Port of Cleveland is ideally positioned to provide speedy, efficient, and reliable service to those seeking access to global markets. It’s clear that it’s time for the Fourth Coast to reach its potential as a major trade lane for the Midwest.


Will Friedman, President & CEO

Port Seeks to Join Lawsuit to Protect Lake Erie

Today, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority filed a motion in federal court to join the State of Ohio as a plaintiff in litigation to resolve a dispute with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the proper management of material dredged from Cleveland harbor and the responsibility for associated costs.  2015.04.23 Full Media Advisory

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