More than $32+ million for cutting-edge upgrades paving the way for Port modernization and sustainability

More than $32+ million for cutting-edge upgrades paving the way for Port modernization and sustainability

The Port is leveraging $32+ million in state and federal grants to overhaul of a key warehouse and electrical infrastructure at the General Cargo Terminal. This strategic move will ensure ongoing efficiency of Port facilities and prepare the Port for upcoming electrification efforts.

William Friedman, Port president and CEO, said the investments were critical to successful port operations as well as sustainability.

The undertaking is part of a broader investment of $93.8 million in Port infrastructure since 2015, with more than 75% of it covered by state and federal grants. Aligned with the Port’s recently implemented Climate Action Plan, the overarching goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making Cleveland the first Great Lakes port to adopt such an ambitious plan.

Learn more details about the grants and the plan.

Port continues to finance transformational residential projects in Northeast Ohio

Port continues to finance transformational residential projects in Northeast Ohio

The Port of Cleveland’s development finance team is busy collaborating with developers and other ports to provide unique, competitive financing that most recently was used to help make possible a new Cleveland rental housing development and a mixed-use project that could help revitalize downtown Painesville:

• The Port is issuing up to $15 million in bonds for the $19.8 million Franklin Yard project. Located at the corner of Franklin Boulevard and West 32nd Street in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, it will include construction of a modern new three-story apartment building with 29 units and restoration of two nearby historic buildings that will create an additional 38 units.

• The $10.5 million 89th Rising Housing Development is the first modern market rate rental development in the central part of Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood. The development is planned by a company founded by Timothy L. Tramble Sr., president of We Rise Development, a resident of the Fairfax neighborhood and president and CEO of the Saint Luke’s Foundation. With the Port’s approval of up to $6 million in bonds, the initiative is poised to address vacancy and blight. The first phase will include 48 one- and two-bedroom rental units in six large structures designed to give the appearance of the Victorian houses that once anchored the street. Learn More

• The $33 million+ Grand River Walk is envisioned as a vibrant, mixed-use complex with 120 residential units, retail space and covered parking. The Port is committed to issuing up to $6 million in bonds for the project through their A- rated bond fund under a Cooperative Agreement with the Lake County Port Authority. Learn More

Beyond their maritime origins, port authorities have evolved into catalysts for comprehensive economic development, offering an array of benefits including speed of closing, confidentiality, off-balance sheet financing, sales tax exemption and flexible, competitive financing products.

Port a leader in economic development with financial support for job creation projects

The Port has provided more than $5 billion for 164 projects dating back to 1993, the majority of those within the City of Cleveland.  Recent projects funded include: 

  • $32 million in bond financing for Roundstone Insurance’s new headquarters in Rocky River. This move aims to accommodate the company’s growth and attract local talent, with plans for a three-story building that can house 140 employees and potentially 100 more over the next five years. 
  • The Port is partnering with the Canton Hall of Fame Village (HOFV) Resort & Entertainment Company to refinance the former McKinley Grand Hotel, now a DoubleTree Hotel. This restructuring of the capital stack and refi is expected to save HOFV more than $5 million.  The bonds will be repaid through Tourism and Development District taxes collected at the hotel.
  • The Port provided $8 million in TIF bond fund financing for the renovation of the historic downtown Cleveland Renaissance hotel, which will be rebranded into The Cleveland Hotel when completed. The Port partnered with the Development Finance Authority of Summit County which also provided bond fund financing for the project.

Cleveland-Europe Express Increases Capacity

What is the Cleveland-Europe Express?

The Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) was started in 2014 by the Port of Cleveland. It was the first and only Great Lakes container service.


What is new with the Cleveland-Europe Express?

The Port of Cleveland has responded to global supply chain problems by expanding the Cleveland-Europe Express service with a container-only vessel to the currently scheduled multi-purpose vessels. This expansion will begin in early September 2021.


What is currently being moved through the CEE?

When the Cleveland-Europe Express launched, we used multi-purpose vessels equipped to manage both non-containerized cargo and containerized cargo.

The global market now dictates the need for a solution to container shipments being delayed. This issue led to the Port of Cleveland acquiring an 860 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity vessel that handles only containers. This will allow for more access to the Midwest markets and broadens the scope of the Port’s capabilities.


What is the benefit of acquiring an 860 TEU capacity vessel?

The benefit is it will add to our already existing fleet that is a part of the CEE. The other vessels are multi-purpose and, they will continue to bring in a variety of goods, while the 860 will only carry large amounts of containers. The Port expects business to grow by 30 to 50%. This third call added to the previous two allows more opportunity for shippers to push more supplies monthly.


Why is the container service and expansion of the Cleveland-Europe Express so critical right now?

First, the current global supply chain issues that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic have now been amplified. The shortage of containers on the market has led to increased prices for cargo owners to move their goods around the globe.

The Cleveland-Europe Express service is at the forefront of the Great Lakes economy. The container-only vessel gives shippers and cargo owners in the Midwest region (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Illinois) the opportunity to move their cargo as close to their final destinations as possible.

From an export standpoint, the CEE allows cargo owners in the Midwest to use a port local in the Great Lakes. This allows them to move their goods through our port to the global economy, whether it be Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, etc. That is what the goal of the service is.


How efficiently can these cargoes move in and out of the Port of Cleveland for import and export?

Throughout 2020, the Port of Cleveland expanded our main gate, added TWIC card and plate reading technology, and reconfigured entry and exit lanes, resulting in reduced wait time for trucking companies and truck drivers.

At the forefront of every decision is ensuring a seamless process and elimination of congestion that you find at large coastal ports. If you are a shipper in the Midwest, you can get that cargo to us two to three days in advance. It will hit that sailing schedule and move out through the St. Lawrence Seaway and arrive at the Port of Antwerp in 14 to 15 days.


If I am a shipper, why would I use the Port of Cleveland?

Right now, shippers are facing a multitude of challenges and frustrations in their day-to-day business; with the biggest issue being congestion at ports. Utilize the Port of Cleveland and your goods are moved taken care of in a much more efficient manner without congestion on the docks. The Port of Cleveland can get your goods into your consumer’s hands faster than if you were to go through large coastal ports.


What do you see as next for the Port of Cleveland and the Great Lakes maritime industry in general?

We want to eventually grow our container service into a weekly service to give customers even more opportunities to move containerized cargo in and out of our facility.

Ports on the Great Lakes are working hard to diversify our cargo base, and the Port of Cleveland is no exception. In the next couple of years, you may see us get into other cargo such as bulk liquid.

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    Case Study - INTRO Cleveland

    INTRO Cleveland

    Behind America's Tallest Mass Timber Building

    INTRO Cleveland is a mixed-use development located in the heart of Ohio City. Adjacent to the historic West Side Market, one of Cleveland’s largest tourist destinations, INTRO Cleveland consists of nine stories in total. The development’s first floor consists of 35,000 square feet of downstairs retail, the ensuing floors up to the eighth are used for residential and, lastly, the top, ninth floor combines a mix of residential space as well as approximately 12,000 square feet of event space.

    The Port of Cleveland worked closely with Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors to develop custom solutions to import mass timber directly to Cleveland and also leveraged the Port’s financing capabilities to help fund the project.

    Download the Case Study

    Watch the Video

    How to Ship to the Great Lakes


    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.


    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.


    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 below) — major U.S. markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan (i.e., Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh) — all within just one day of trucking.


    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.