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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