Articles

How to Ship to the Great Lakes

MOVING CARGOS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN TO AMERICA’S HEARTLAND

From the earliest days of settlement in America, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River have been used to move cargos from America’s Heartland to the world — and vice versa.

In fact, the origin of Great Lakes shipping began in the 1800s with the industrialization of the Midwest. When farmers, miners and loggers of the region needed to move their goods, they turned to Great Lakes fleets to serve their industries. In turn, this helped develop thriving port cities in America, like Cleveland.

In present day, ports located in the Great Lakes region, like the Port of Cleveland, handle cargos from across the world, supporting major industries that are critical to the global economy, such as agriculture, automotive, construction and energy.

For businesses across the globe, the same advantages that existed at the genesis of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River shipping exist today.

Ultimately, a faster door-to-door transit, ample capacity and direct access to a market containing half of all U.S. households and manufacturing means that products reach their final destination before the competition.

So, how does shipping to the Port of Cleveland actually work?

Shipping to the Port of Cleveland from anywhere in the world is simple. In fact, it’s so simple we can break it down to three easy steps.

As an example, let’s track a shipment that originates in Europe, specifically in Antwerp, Belgium.

Step 1: Containerized or non-containerized cargo is loaded on a vessel

Cargos are loaded on a vessel and prepared for shipping. These vessels, like The Spliethoff Group’s — our vessel partner for the Cleveland Europe Express, can carry more than 70,000 tons of cargo in a single voyage. Just for comparison, it would take 2,800 trucks to do the same exact work of one vessel.

port-ship

In addition to simplifying the supply chain by using water transport, the size of these vessels also offers economic and environmental benefits by saving on fuel costs and, more importantly, releasing fewer emissions along the way.

Step 2: The vessel crosses the Atlantic Ocean and arrives at the Port of Cleveland

The map above shows a typical shipping route from a city in Europe, like Antwerp, to Cleveland in America.

europe-to-usa-map

Once the vessel leaves the port of origin, it takes an all-water route across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system until it arrives at the first major U.S. port of call, the Port of Cleveland. In total, the trip between Cleveland and Antwerp has an average sailing time of 13 days.

When you compare the timing of the same trip from Europe to other ports, like those on the east coast, you’ll find that shipping to the Port of Cleveland is actually 5-10 days faster. That means getting products in front of customers ahead of the competition.

Curious why it’s so much faster? It comes down to added efficiencies and capacities.

When cargo arrives at the Port of Cleveland, our terminal operator, LOGISTEC, handles the shipment, which can include bulk and general cargo such as breakbulk, intermodal containers and project cargo.

Ultimately, this partnership reduces the amount of time cargos are stuck sitting at a port, speeding up the shipping process from origin to end-user.

Just how much faster does this make shipping to the Port of Cleveland? Actually, a lot.

The span of time a vessel unloads at the Port of Cleveland is minimal, typically just over two days. Compare the same process at other ports, like U.S. east coast, and you’ll find that the Port of Cleveland unloads cargo about three to five days faster.

Simply put, while other ports have vessels sit at the dock with your cargo, we keep it moving to its final destination.

Step 3: Your cargo is connected to its final destination

Once the cargo is moved from water to land, it’s connected to the final user. The Port of Cleveland’s geographical location offers direct access to its hinterlands (shown above) — major U.S. markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan (i.e., Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh) — all within just one day of trucking.

port-map-radius

Why is the Port’s geographic location so important to businesses? Half of all U.S. households, businesses and manufacturing plants are located within an 8-hour drive of the port. That means access to prime markets faster and more efficiently.

To connect your cargo, the Port of Cleveland has strong, locally established multimodal solutions, including an intermodal network of railroads and inland ramps or terminals where containers can be drayed, two Class 1 Railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern. OmniTRAX, a national short-line railroad, provides all switching services on port property, and immediate highway access for truck routing and drayage.

Are you ready to ship to the Great Lakes?

Work with the Port of Cleveland — the premier port on the Great Lakes. We’re your business’s one-stop for shipping, logistics, capacity and access solutions.

Contact us today at 216.241.8004 or learn more on our website.


Prosperity for All: Honoring the Legacy of Juneteenth

Op-Ed Written by Jade Davis, Vice President of External Affairs, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority

The diversity of our people — in culture, industry and interests — is what makes our city, the Great Lakes region and, moreover, our country truly great. Our mission at the Port of Cleveland is to spur job creation and economic vitality in Cuyahoga County, building a prosperous future. With that in mind, the Port celebrates Juneteenth (June 19) not as a political statement, but rather as a sincere celebration of freedom and the subsequent journey of the African American community.

For those unfamiliar with Juneteenth, it honors the date when slaves in Texas were informed of both their freedom and the end of the Civil War. Slaves in Confederate states of rebellion originally were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect Jan. 1, 1863. But it was not until Union Gen. Gordon Granger read Field Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 that the last slave communities in rebellion states were informed of their newfound freedom. Thus, Juneteenth became Freedom Day within African American communities throughout America. In 2020, as our nation reckons with the ongoing burdens that systemic racism has placed on Black people in America, celebrating Juneteenth and what it stands for is more important than ever.

My perspectives on this issue were shaped as I was raised in a working-class African American family in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood. My parents were incredible role models and sacrificed so our family could have a better life. They were steadfast supporters of my education and pushed for me to achieve. But they also were open, frank and honest about how racism, and its historical weight, would be a constant presence and challenge in my life.

As a husband and father now raising my own family, and as someone who has achieved education, titles and success that my ancestors were denied, despite my success, I sadly find that those same lessons my parents taught me 30 years ago are ones that I must still pass on to my own children today. But the recent swell of public engagement on systemic racism and its effects gives me hope for a better future.

I am also fortunate to work for an institution that is focused on the prosperity for all within Northeast Ohio. The Port of Cleveland is at the forefront of Cleveland's economic well-being through its work in maritime, trade, logistics, public finance and environmental efforts. But as a major institution in a racially majority-minority city, the Port's board of directors and leadership team have a clearly stated, long-standing focus on addressing the results of systemic racism deeply rooted in socioeconomic disparities, education inequalities, public health disparities and structural career barriers. Simply put, the Port believes that our entire community's well-being must be at the forefront of our decision-making for us to achieve our mission.

In solidarity, advancement and support of directly improving the quality of life for all Northeast Ohio residents, and not leaving people behind who have long been on the margins, the Port of Cleveland put action behind words, embarking on various initiatives outlined in our strategic plan developed in 2017 that continue to address inequities:

Created equitable opportunity in enterprise. We initiated aggressive minority and female enterprise procurement goals for Port-affiliated projects and operations, creating new opportunities to nurture and support growth for economically and socially diverse businesses.

Promoted residents' prosperity. We mandated prevailing wage to encourage equitable pay, ensuring that all workers on Port-related projects are paid fairly for their work.

Directly supported career pipelines. We invest in education initiatives that directly prepare Cleveland Metropolitan School District students for college or careers through the Davis Aerospace & Maritime High School, encouraging a diverse future workforce of scientists, engineers, pilots, technicians and labor.

Addressed public health issues. We have fought vigorously to protect Lake Erie drinking water from legacy contaminants that threaten public health and whose effects are felt more greatly in impoverished and minority communities.

As vice president of external affairs at the Port, I'm proud of our organization's intentional efforts to invest in equitable practices. However, the Port's leadership acknowledges that there is still much more work to do. The current conversation may be uncomfortable for some, but we can't let our comfort distract us from the real issue. People are dying — physically, financially and spiritually — because the status quo has simply not resulted in fully addressing the issues at hand. Therefore, the Port of Cleveland will continue to take actions to move our community forward.

This month and going forward, let us all reflect on the Juneteenth holiday and then continue the critical public dialogue and actions now happening to move our country toward true equity for all.


Port of Cleveland to Modernize Facility with Three New Construction Projects in 2020-21

Renovation and construction will create jobs, spur economic activity and bring new cargos

  • Three new construction projects at the Port of Cleveland are approved and set to modernize its facilities related to port maritime and logistics operations.
  • “We’re resilient and we’re going to be the best-positioned port on the Great Lakes to handle the cargos of today and the future,” said Port of Cleveland president and CEO William Friedman.
  • The Port of Cleveland is beginning construction to modernize critical import/export terminals Dock 24 and 26.
  • To prepare for increased bulk cargo demand in 2020 and beyond, the Port is extending the Cleveland bulk terminal ore conveyance tunnel.
  • New construction for the general terminal access road and main gate will create two lanes in and out of the port and increased vehicle capacity.

At its March Board Meeting, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority announced the approval of three new construction projects related to port maritime and logistics operations. The projects include the rehabilitation of the general cargo terminal Dock 24 and 26W, creation of a new general cargo terminal access road and main gate and extension of the Cleveland bulk terminal ore conveyance tunnel.

“With these projects, including our recently completed bulkhead renovation, our port is able to modernize infrastructure last updated during the 1950s and 1960s,” said Port of Cleveland president and CEO William Friedman. “We’re resilient and we’re going to be the best-positioned port on the Great Lakes to handle the cargos of today and the future.”

Preparing to double cargo volumes: General cargo terminal dock 24 & 26W rehabilitation project

In February, the Port of Cleveland was a recipient of an $11 million infrastructure development grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The grant allows for the modernization of critical import/export terminals Dock 24 and 26. This transformational project enables the Port of Cleveland to compete for the cargos of today while preparing to double cargo volumes over the next 20 years. The construction includes typical rehabilitations to fenders, bollards, the elevation of docks, implementation of stormwater drainage, and structural pavements details. Overall, the Port’s reinvestment will modernize more than fifty percent of its dock infrastructure.

Enhancing storage and blending: Cleveland bulk terminal ore conveyance tunnel extension project

To prepare for increased bulk cargo demand in 2020 and beyond, the Port is extending the Cleveland bulk terminal ore conveyance tunnel. The current 362-foot tunnel stores iron ore brought from ranges on vessels and then loads the iron ore on river-class vessels which navigate the Cuyahoga River to its final destination. The tunnel extension will allow for improved taconite quality, the ability to blend multiple grades of taconite, reduced taconite rehandling, a more environmentally conscious approach through plug-in electrical connections to portable conveyors, reduced facility emissions, and enhanced load out efficiencies. The extension of the tunnel will create a higher demand for taconite and other bulk commodities resulting in an overall tonnage increase.

Increasing vehicle capacity: General cargo terminal access road & main gate project

The general cargo terminal access road and main gate serves as the main entrance to the Port for trucks, employees and visitors. New construction set to be complete in late fall 2020, will create two lanes in and out of the port, increased vehicle capacity, expanded access to the W 3rd cargo laydown area, enhanced security and data collection system, a fiberoptic feed installed for enhanced communications, aesthetic enhancements, and the introduction of a frequent user lane for Port employees, International Longshoreman’s Association employees and routine visitors.


Exhaustive Studies of Project Icebreaker

Originally published in Crain’s Cleveland Business

The June 16 opinion piece in Crain’s regarding Project Icebreaker, the proposed Lake Erie wind energy demonstration project, begs a response. In full disclosure, I serve on the board of the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo), the wind energy project’s nonprofit sponsor.

The author calls for additional environmental review of the project despite exhaustive reviews already conducted by numerous public agencies at the federal, state and local level. In truth, this project has been studied nearly to death. The findings contained in the voluminous reports and analyses, which regulators relied on to issue their permits, speak for themselves: The project poses very minimal environmental risk. Thanks to years of hard work by project proponents, we are finally poised to build it, propelling Cleveland to the forefront of a burgeoning energy sector.

At the federal level alone, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) completed a two-year environmental impact assessment of the project. DOE’s massive review, conducted with input from other federal agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, concluded last year with the issuance of a “Finding of No Significant Impact.” The DOE report reads, “The proposed project will not significantly adversely affect any endangered or threatened species or any critical habitat,” and it further concludes there would be no potential for population-level impacts to any species of birds. Furthermore, any future offshore wind project would have to undergo the same rigorous regulatory reviews.

As the first freshwater wind energy installation in North America, Project Icebreaker represents a once- in-a-generation (perhaps a lifetime) opportunity to vault Cleveland to the forefront of an industry poised for explosive growth. The first U.S. offshore wind project, a pilot like ours, went into operation in December 2016 off the coast of Block Island, R.I. In just two-and-a-half years, a wave of projects are now in the development pipeline along the Eastern Seaboard, representing at least $70 billion in new investment. European countries have installed more than 4,500 turbines in the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea that generate enough energy to power 14 million homes. Asian countries are now moving very quickly to harness their offshore wind resource. When built at scale, offshore wind energy projects are now competitive, with zero subsidy, with all other energy sources.

Establishing Cleveland as a leader in offshore wind energy is not only good for the environment and smart energy policy, it holds significant economic development potential — meaning new jobs and investments in Ohio. Ohio already has a formidable wind energy component-part manufacturing presence. Picture Ohio-made wind turbine components shipped around the world from the Port of Cleveland and skilled Ohio workers meeting the demands of a growing industry here and abroad. With Mother Nature providing a world-class wind resource and good old Ohio ingenuity powering the supply chain, we have very real and substantial comparative advantages in this sector that we’d be foolish to squander.

Resistance to change is an all-too-familiar drag on progress. Let’s not look back with regret because others seized the day.