Cleveland-Europe Express will arrive in Cleveland in two weeks

CLEVELAND, OH- With the departure of the vessel “Fortunagracht” out of Antwerp, Belgium over the weekend, the Cleveland-Europe Express service between the Cleveland Harbor and Europe via the Saint Lawrence Seaway has officially launched. The vessel is loaded with breakbulk and containerized cargo and is set to dock in Cleveland around April 17. 

The Cleveland-Europe Express is the only regular, scheduled international container and non-containerized cargo service on the Great Lakes. The Port of Cleveland and Dutch company The Spliethoff Group entered into an agreement in November 2013 to begin the service. It is 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.

Will Friedman, president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland, said the market is responding very favorably and in line with expectations.  Full Press Release 2014.04.07 Liner Service Underway



Also elects officers and renews key operations contracts

CLEVELAND, OH- The Port of Cleveland approved a resolution at its March Board of Directors meeting directing the Port’s management to work with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure the timely start and completion of dredging necessary for the 2014 shipping season utilizing existing confined facilities for disposal of the material. 

In its resolution, the Port Board noted that, to avoid significant detrimental impact to the economic vitality of the region, dredging the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Harbor must start without delay. The Board also asked that the decision process of the Army Corps of Engineers with regard to the placement of dredged material in the open waters of Lake Erie be deliberate and transparent and provide for adequate time for careful consideration of all pertinent data and views, including State regulatory agency findings and local plans. Full Press Release 2014.03.13 Dredge

November 2013

William D. Friedman, President & CEO

Last week, the Port of Cleveland was excited to announce its plans to launch the Cleveland-Europe Express, a regularly scheduled express freight shipping service between Cleveland to Europe.  We expect to launch this service in April of 2014, and see it as a transformative moment for our Port and our local economy, providing yet another tool for Cleveland to compete globally and support local businesses as they reach across borders.

At our announcement, we were honored to welcome many of the key supporters of this initiative. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Betty Sutton, President & CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership Joe Roman, and a number of local business and civic leaders expressed the value of the service to our economy, and I want to thank all of them for their support for this important initiative.  What those in attendance heard was the result of strategic thought, creative planning, smart negotiation, and a collective vision that will reshape shipping in Ohio and the Midwest.

The Cleveland-Europe Express will be the only scheduled international container service on the Great Lakes, freeing regional businesses from relying on East Coast ports to ship their good to Europe.  This helps cut time, expenses, and logistical headaches for existing businesses, and makes Cleveland more attractive to new enterprises. It’s also in line with our Port’s focus on promoting green and sustainable practices, as shipping is the most efficient method to move goods, using the least amount of fuel and saving companies as much as four days shipping time.

Our outreach to the business community has shown strong support for the liner service, and our research indicates that up to 400,000 additional tons of cargo will be shipped through the Port of Cleveland.  Those are big numbers, and we expect them to grow as we spread the word and establish our liner service as the most reliable and cost efficient way to ship goods from the Midwest to Europe and vice versa.  I encourage businesses interested in using the service to contact me directly at william.friedman@portofcleveland.com.

Finally, I want to remind everyone that 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. That includes important work such as the Cleveland-Europe Express, which will build upon the Port’s existing efforts to position Cleveland in the global economy.

In Memoriam – Charles “Arnie” de la Porte

The Port of Cleveland recently lost a great friend and true champion of the Port and Cleveland, Charles “Arnie” de la Porte.

In his roles as a successful businessman, entrepreneur, and Honorary Consul for the Netherlands in Ohio, Arnie was an expert in all things maritime and promoter extraordinaire for the Port and Greater Cleveland.  He also was the person most responsible for bringing the Tall Ships Festival to Cleveland through his involvement in Rotary Club of Cleveland. The Port and the thousands who annually enjoy this majestic festival owe him a debt of gratitude.

No one cared more about the success of our Port than Arnie and no one did more to make it a success.  Everyone here at the Port extends our heartfelt condolences to the de la Porte family at this difficult time, and we hope they can take some solace in the fact that Arnie’s passion and energy had such a great impact on our community.

Will Friedman

President and CEO


On the Docks

Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service

The Great Lakes are an essential part of America’s transportation network, providing an extremely efficient method of shipping goods.  Yet surprisingly, no regularly scheduled international shipping option currently exists on any of its ports.  That is all about to change, thanks to the Port of Cleveland’s plans to launch the Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service in April 2014.

“We see this as a transformative moment for our Port and our regional economy,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.  “This gives Cleveland a strategic tool to compete globally and support local businesses as they reach across borders and connect our goods to the world.”

Currently, local manufacturers use East Coast ports to ship goods to Europe, incurring additional rail and truck costs along the way. The Cleveland Europe-Express will allow local companies to ship out of their own backyards, simplifying logistics and reducing shipping time and costs.

The Cleveland-Europe Express will travel from the Port of Cleveland, through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the Atlantic to Europe.  What some might not realize is that due to the added time lag associated with transferring cargo to and from rail and/or truck, the Ports new liner service will actually save time for those shipping goods.

That difference in travel time can be up to four days, a major efficiency for businesses always looking to streamline expenses. “Just think of all the fuel alone it takes to ship goods on those additional days, and you can begin to understand the dynamics at play here,” said Friedman. “Those and many other costs add up, and we limit them with the liner service.”

The liner service will run at least once per month, and more frequently as demand dictates. The Port is in the final stages of securing an agreement with the Spliethoff Group, a Dutch company specializing in global shipping, to operate the Cleveland-Europe Express. As part of the deal, the Port would avoid any initial capital investment.  “We fully expect the Cleveland-Europe Express not only to cover expenses, but to also generate revenue, directly for the Port, and provide a major benefit for Cleveland companies,” said Friedman.

The local ripple effect of the liner service should be significant according to a market analysis conducted for the Port by Martin and Associates. That study found that sufficient unmet demand for this service exists, and that it should generate more than $50 million in increased economic activity, including hundreds of new jobs.  The study indicates that an additional 250,000 to 400,000 tons of cargo will be shipped through the Port of Cleveland.  That represents roughly 10-15% of Ohio’s trade with Europe, a number that is expected to grow as the Port continues to market the service.

Local business leaders have expressed strong support for the Cleveland-Europe Express, with major companies including Lubrizol, Lincoln Electric, and RPM stating that it could create additional efficiencies. “Having a direct shipping option to Europe will increase the competitiveness of The Lubrizol Corporation,” said Steve Warthon, Operations Manager at Lubrizol. “We commend the Port of Cleveland for taking the initiative to help businesses save time and money in global trade and position Cleveland as a global competitor.”

The added competitiveness should also help Cleveland recruit new companies, according to Jay Foran of Team NEO, which helps attract new businesses to Northeast Ohio. “The liner service would be a significant addition to the business case we present when attracting companies,” said Foran, Senior Vice President of Business Attraction, who also noted the benefit of retaining existing businesses.

“The Cleveland-Europe Express is something the staff has worked especially hard on, and the payoff will be seeing our community become stronger economically,” said Friedman. “We can help connect Cleveland to new markets, to more capital, to new businesses – that’s our goal, and the Cleveland-Europe Express hits all those touchstones.”

Along the Water

Great Lakes Maritime Leadership Coalesces in Cleveland

Cleveland may be just one of a number of cities with ports along the Great Lakes, but its depth of leadership in all things maritime is truly unique.  In recent months and years, a historic number of maritime leaders have come to call the area home.  With this leadership in place, Cleveland is positioned as a city with an exceptional concentration of skill, thought, and influence on the future of the Great Lakes, laying the foundation for an even more robust maritime economy.

“Northeast Ohio and the Port of Cleveland benefit immensely from the depth of leadership we have in the maritime field,” said Will Friedman, Port President and CEO. “It’s really unprecedented to have this kind of influence in the maritime realm concentrated in Cleveland.”

Part of that leadership depth comes from family traditions and long-term investments.  The Baker family is a multigenerational example of that leader in Cleveland through their work with the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO  (ILA).  John Baker, Sr. is assistant general organizer for the ILA, and acts as chief negotiator for ILA contracts for over 8,000 members at both U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports.  And Baker’ Sr. son, John D. Baker, Jr., serves as President of the ILA’s Great Lakes District Council.

The Interlake Steamship Company is another example of a long-term family dedication to maritime that provides Cleveland with key leadership in the field.  Based in Middleburg Heights, Interlake is one of the Great Lakes’ largest ship owning and operating companies, and has over 300 employees.  Mark Barker is President and CEO, continuing a long time family tradition as the company celebrates its centennial this year.

Another long-term local maritime organization with Great Lakes wide prominence is The Lakes Carriers’ Association (LCA). Founded in 1880, LCA is a trade association representing United States carriers, and focuses on promoting waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes.  LCA and its president, James Weakley, are headquartered in Rocky River.

Even given Cleveland’s historical leadership in maritime, 2013 has been a banner year for local accomplishment in the field.  In June of this year, Rear Admiral Fred Midgette assumed duty as the Ninth Coast Guard District Commander, overseeing Coast Guard operations for the five Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway and leading 6,000 Coast Guard personnel.  Rear Admiral Midgette and the 9th District of the Coast Guard are headquartered here in Cleveland, and his presence and new position help raise the local maritime profile.

This July, President Barack Obama appointed former US Representative Betty Sutton the administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Sutton is a Northeast Ohio native who previously represented Ohio’s 13th House District from 2007 to 2012 and whose legal career in Cleveland frequently involved maritime issues.

The Port of Cleveland was also honored this July when Friedman was named the President of American Great Lakes Ports Association (AGLPA).  The AGLPA represents the interests of US based public port authorities on the Great Lakes, informing and influencing public policies to promote maritime commerce in the Great Lakes region.

This concentration of leadership suggests a bright future for maritime in Cleveland and its port, which has seen a significant uptick in the amount of cargo shipped this year. “Our vision is for The Port of Cleveland to be the premier port on the Great Lakes,” said Friedman.  “We intend to leverage the expertise and influence that Cleveland’s abundance of maritime leaders provides to achieve that goal.”


In the Community

Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve Trail Extention


Those looking to experience nature may think they need to travel far from Cleveland to find a truly wild setting.  But just minutes from Downtown, the Port of Cleveland continues to make the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve into adestination for those seeking to escape city life for an hour or two.  And with the opening of an expanded trails network this fall, previously inaccessible areas of the Preserve are now open to the public.

“The Lakefront Nature Preserve is a key to the Port of Cleveland’s commitment to being green and sustainable, and we’ve invested significantly in making it more visitor friendly since opening it to the public just last year,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.  “With the additional of these new trails, people can begin to fully experience all the breathtaking scenery the site has to offer.”

The 88-acre Nature Preserve was originally created to hold sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga riverbed to keep the shipping channel open. Over a decade ago, sediment placement ended, and as the soil settled, an amazing array of flora and fauna gradually claimed the site.  Today, one can find habitats including grasslands, forest, and meadows. Animals as diverse as coyotes, minks, and deer (to name a few) call the Preserve home, and Audubon Ohio has designated it an Important Bird Area. And visitors from across the world have made their way to the site to experience its unique natural settings.

Following on the heels of the Garden Club of Cleveland’s September dedication of a new scenic overlook plaza on the western edge of the site, this October, the Port opened the Monarch Trail and Northern Harrier Trail on the site’s interior and an expanded the eastern half of the now fully completed Perimeter Trail. The quarter-mile Monarch Trail calls attention to the impressive butterfly population along its path in warm weather, while the half-mile Northern Harrier Trail takes its name from the majestic hawks that patrol the skies above.

The completed Perimeter Trail now boasts 1.75 miles of path, and its new eastern section allows unparalleled views of Lake Erie. “The eastern edge has beautiful vistas of the lake unlike anywhere in Cleveland, especially because it is beyond the breakwall,” said Linda Sternheimer, the Port’s development manager.  “And the interior trails will introduce visitors to new wildlife and environments that you won’t see in a park setting.”

The Port engaged the Cleveland Metroparks on construction and maintenance of the trails.  The work was completed in time for visitors to use the new trails to catch sight of the many species of birds stopping by on their trip south for the winter. The new trails expand the total available from 1.3 miles to over 2.5 miles.

Harvey Webster, Director of the Wildlife Resource Center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, believes these new trails are the final piece to make the Preserve as Northeast Ohio’s premier destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers. “The Lakefront Nature Preserve was already a great asset, but by expanding the trails, the Port has provided unprecedented access and significantly raised the stature of the site,” he said.

“In some ways, the Nature Preserve is a hidden gem, so we hope these new trails encourage more people to come experience the site,” said Sternheimer. “It’s an ideal place to encounter a truly wild natural setting, and just enjoy the fresh air, the scenery, and a chance to get away for a few hours.” Webster agrees.  “The original vision for the Preserve as a place to connect and interact with nature and Lake Erie has really come to fruition in spectacular fashion.”


eNewsletter: March 2014

William D. Friedman
President & CEO

We expect April 9th to be a historic day for the Port of Cleveland and for shipping and logistics in the Midwest.  That’s when the inaugural voyage of the Cleveland – Europe Express will dock at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and introduce a reliable way of moving goods from our region as the Great Lake’s only regularly scheduled express liner service to Europe.  Two days later, the ship will be off to Antwerp, Belgium to complete the Express’ first round trip and begin providing what we expect to be major benefits – we expect up to 400,000 additional tons of cargo to travel through our Port, representing roughly 10-15% of Ohio’s European trade.

The liner service is a centerpiece of our continued efforts to evolve the Port to serve the 21st Century needs of Northeast Ohio’s business community, helping our region compete globally and positioning our service portfolio to act as a key economic driver.  We are seeing success in our goals – last year, we experienced a 20% increase in the volume of tonnage shipped through our facilities.  We attribute this major bump partly to our on-site investments, such as our rail loop, which helped more than double the amount of goods shipped by rail out of the Port in 2013. (You can read more about the success of our rail investment in this issue). Above all, we see the increase in volume as a testament to our spirit of partnership with local businesses, taking stock of their needs, and evolving our model to link them to an ever-evolving global economy.

The Port understands that Cleveland is a player in the global economy, and regional demand exists for shipping options to reach markets around the world. We know from our research that goods made here are used everywhere – you might not realize that Cleveland businesses are even shipping consumer goods for use in China. As the nation’s economy has gradually ramped up, we have seen the numbers demonstrate our local economy’s resiliency and continued capacity in manufacturing.

The liner service is a major investment by the Port, and a strategic bet on Cleveland’s future. We believe that our local businesses are strong, that unmet demand exists, and that we can free businesses from relying on East Coast ports, cutting time, expenses, and logistical headaches. The Express also meets our goal of promoting green, sustainable practices—shipping is the most fuel-efficient method to move goods, and shaves days off travel. 

This time next year, we hope to report back to you on the progress we’ve made increasing cargo volumes and efficiencies, and continuing to reach new markets.  We aspire to be a dynamic agent in Greater Cleveland’s economy, both through our continued efforts in development finance, environmental stewardship, and partnering to create a vibrant waterfront, but our focused push to innovate within our core maritime operations are critical to our strategy.


On the Docks

Port’s Investment in Rail Loop Pays Dividends

In late 2012, the Port of Cleveland invested in a rail loop along its docks to provide its customers with improved service and access to more North American markets. In 2013, the benefits of that investment began to be realized, with rail freight shipped through the Port reaching a number of new markets and a noticeable increase in tonnage and total cars shipped by rail.

“The rail loop has clearly made a difference for our customers, and expanded our reach into places we did not service previously,” explained Dave Gutheil, the Port’s Vice President of Martime and Logistics. “We’re now seeing freight travel as far as the west coast of Canada, and our volume is up overall – it’s everything we had hoped for through this investment.”

Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad, a local shortline railroad, provides service on the Port’s rail loop, making the vital link between transportation options that was previously absent. Before the introduction of the rail loop, customers shipping through the Port lacked the ability to choose or switch between the two major, “Class I” rail carriers, CSX and Norfolk Southern. “CSX provided access to one side of the Port, and Norfolk Southern provided access to the other,” explained Gutheil. “So there was no real competition between the two carriers, which affected pricing and access to broader networks.”

Prior to 2013, the Port regularly reached existing markets in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin by rail. (Goods that arrive at the Port by ship and are transported within Ohio typically move by truck due to the shorter distances). Since establishing the rail loop, however, cargo shipped by rail from the Port has reached parts of Oregon, Kentucky, New York, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  

Total rail volume more than doubled in 2013, and Gutheil attributes the uptick in volume and the extended reach to a number of factors. “First, we now have greater competition, better pricing, and more reach because of customers new ability to always access both class one rail carriers,” he said. “But beyond that, the rail loop provides more connectivity, shorter transit times, and great on site, as needed customer service through Cleveland Harbor Belt.  The increased efficiencies are significant, and time is money for our customers.”

The launching of the Port’s new European liner service in April 2014 is expected to further leverage the rail loop’s value to customers. “The liner service will combine with our strategic rail position to make our Port very attractive to companies seeking more efficient ways of moving products or accessing supply chains,” said Gutheil. “Our goal is to take full advantage of our location as the closest major Great Lakes port to the St Lawrence Seaway, and provide our customers unique access to a broad array of markets.”

Along the Water

Towpath Trail Partnership to Open Innovative Scranton Flats Section

This spring, the Towpath Trail Partnership will achieve a major milestone in their effort to create a unified, trail-focused park system, the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, stretching from Cleveland through Akron to Massillon along the route of Northeast Ohio’s historic canal system.  In May, the Scranton Flats section of the park system will officially open, adding a significant length to the trail, and using creative environmental restoration to help address the Cuyahoga River’s long-term health.

“This brings us significantly closer to achieving our vision for the trail, but we’re equally excited about the environmental benefits,” said Tim Donovan, Executive Director Ohio Canal Corridor, a member in the Towpath Trail Partnership, along with Cuyahoga County, City of Cleveland, and Cleveland Metroparks. “This could provide a national model for other urban shipping channels on how to re-introduce naturalized river banks and help repopulate them with fish and other wildlife.”

When open, the 11-acre site, which fronts two thirds of a mile along the Cuyahoga River bank on the Scranton Road Peninsula in Cleveland, will offer a unique way for bikers, walkers, runners, and other users to experience the waterfront and downtown views in a restored river habitat.  Before the Canal Corridor became involved, the site was sitting in a state of disuse and disarray.

“It was last used to operate a marina, but as you might expect on a site with an industrial past, the land was polluted, and filled with invasive plant species,” explained Donovan.  The newly restored site is not only environmentally clean, but also features native plants expected to draw wildlife and new green bulkheads specially designed to harbor fish.

“We’re already seeing anecdotal evidence of success in our wildlife habitat efforts,” said Donovan, who noted a new sighting in the area. “Blue herons are hanging out, and they go where the fish are.”

The project grew out of an inventive, partnership-based approach to thinking holistically about the site and raising the necessary dollars. “Tim’s incredibly creative in finding ways to fund the trail, and look at the work through a collaborative, assets-based lens that brought numerous partners to the table,” noted Jim White, the Port of Cleveland’s Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Programs.

In his former position with the Cuyahoga Remedial Action Plan, White worked with Donovan to help seek and secure funding for Scranton Flats.  Key funding for the $9 million project came from the Clean Ohio Fund, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission.  Partners included Ohio Canal Corridor, City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland Metroparks, which developed the site plan to weave the trail with the habitat.

White sees opportunity for the Port to incorporate some of the Scranton Flats lessons as the Port embraces its role as the steward of an integrated Cuyahoga shipping channel, where business, recreation, and nature all peacefully interact.  Specifically, he thinks the Port can adopt some of the green methods downstream at Franklin Hill, where geological issues have created concern over land sliding into the river.

“As we work to ensure that Franklin Hill does not collapse into the river channel, we can use green bulkheading to create habitats and support and restore the environmental health of the river,” said White.  “And, we want to incorporate the proposed Lake Link Trail, which can act as a feeder to the Towpath, and connect it to Lake Erie.”

The grand opening ceremony in May follows on the heels of the 25th anniversary of Ohio Canal Corridor’s first River Sweep, an ongoing cleanup program that regularly brings together up to 1,000 volunteers to trail-blaze new greenspace areas along the Cuyahoga. Donovan likes the linkage since Scranton Flats was a former River Sweep site.

Will Friedman, Port President and CEO, praised Donovan’s role in Scranton Flats and the Towpath Trail. “It’s really a testament to Tim’s vision and determination over more than two decades to making the towpath trail into what it is today,” he said. “Something as creative and ground breaking as Scranton Flats just does not happen without someone like Tim driving it forward.”

Those who attend the grand opening will appreciate the transformation on site.  The former vacant and polluted marina now features rain gardens, wetlands, bio swales, interactive historical nodes, an observation promontory, and, of course, the trail.  Donovan is happy to open it to the public.  “We were able to take abandoned industrial land, return it to its historical natural state through native vegetation, aquatic habitats, green bulkheads, and provide the public access through the trail and park, all combined with amazing views,” he said. “We think people are really going to enjoy it.”

For more information, visit:  www.ohiocanal.org.




In the Community

Development Finance Highlights from 2013

In 2013, the Port of Cleveland’s economic development and financing work once again helped connect private capital to a diverse group of projects that help drive our local economy. From governmental and educational institutions to corporate world headquarters this work continues the Port’s strategic focus to facilitate opportunities for job growth and business expansion. “Last year, we continued to use creative methods to help local businesses and institutions make major investments that benefit our entire local economy,” said Brent Leslie, the Port’s Chief Financial Officer. Provided below are a few highlights that show the breadth of the Port’s work in in 2013.

Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters

Cuyahoga County’s efforts to centralize its operations are having a major effect on downtown Cleveland.  Vacating the corner of Ontario and Lakeside has made way for a new convention center hotel, and the County is also investing on another key block, establishing its new central offices near East 9th and Euclid.

The new headquarters is being built by Geis Companies, and the Port assisted in financing the project by issuing $80 million in tax-exempt lease revenue bonds.  When complete, the building will feature over 200,000 square feet of office space in a green, LEED-certified where approximately 700 county employees will work.  The project also serves as the anchor development for the surrounding mixed-use redevelopment.

Beaumont School – Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Expansion

Beaumont School on North Park Boulevard in Cleveland Heights is undertaking a major campus expansion with the addition of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) building, as well as other improvements to existing facilities.  The dedicated STEM space is the main focus of the project, with Beaumont creating a modern learning environment that will empower young women in key areas of study to help them compete in the new global economy.

The Port facilitated the issuance of $8,160,000 of tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance the construction.  When complete, the project will add 25,000 square feet to the school’s campus, including the STEM classrooms and labs, a student commons, offices, and a new main entrance to the school.

OMNOVA Solutions, Inc. – Corporate Headquarters

OMNOVA Solutions, Inc. is a multinational, publicly traded corporation providing polymers, chemicals, and engineered surfaces for commercial, industrial, and residential uses in over 90 countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Headquartered in Northeast Ohio, OMNOVA was founded nearly 100 years ago in the tire and rubber industry and has evolved over the years to provide products used in everything from coated paper to carpeting to upholstery. The company’s most recent fiscal year showed over $1 billion in sales, and 2,390 employees across North America, Europe and Asia.

After a national search to identify the location for its new global headquarters, the company decided to remain in Northeast Ohio and build in Beachwood. The Port played a major role in assembling the creative financing package that made it easier for OMNOVA to remain in Northeast Ohio.  That package included $7 million in Port-issued bonds to generate private investment, along with a State of Ohio Enterprise Fund Bond, tax increment financing, and a structured construction and lease agreement with the Port. OMNOVA expects to add 70 jobs to its existing 110 employees when it completes its new 57,000 square foot Beachwood headquarters.


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

eNewsletter: September 2013

William D. Friedman
President & CEO

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



14 Photos

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.

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