Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an in-depth story on a phenomenon the Port of Cleveland’s been tracking for some time – the intense congestion at East, West, and Gulf Coast ports that is wasting time, resources, and dollars for companies shipping goods in and out of the U.S.
As confirmed by the Journal’s report, many of these large coastal ports are stretched to and beyond capacity as massive ocean vessels carrying 10,000 plus shipping containers jam their docks. A recent study by the American Association of Port Authorities confirms this uptick in port activity, finding that the economic impact of U.S. ports is up an impressive 43% since 2007. But many ports are ill equipped to handle the growth, and government investment in port infrastructure is lagging in many markets.
Here at the Port of Cleveland, we’ve been proactive in positioning our facilities to provide a better option for shippers. We offer a competitive alternative to those looking to avoid the headaches – long delays and excess costs – that can come with the overwhelmed coastal ports. And we’ve had the benefit of better partnership with state and local government to build our infrastructure.
Our strategy starts with the Cleveland – Europe Express, our partnership with the Spliethoff Group to offer the only direct, non-stop liner service from the Great Lakes to Europe. We’ve proven over the past two shipping seasons that our liner service saves time, money, and frustration for shippers by avoiding the large coastal ports.
While we may not sit directly on an ocean, our port still offers direct, global connection. We’re leveraging Cleveland’s position on the “Fourth Coast” – the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system – a route established over 50 years ago, but still far from reaching its potential. We’re convinced it’s time to realize the immense potential of our direct access to global markets.
Shippers are responding – this year, the liner service has doubled the number of calls it will make at the Port of Cleveland, and the total volume of cargo passing through our docks has sharply increased. But unlike our sister ports on the East, West and Gulf ports, we have room to grow and we’re ahead of the game.
To accommodate increased demand and strengthen our ability to compete, we’re building new warehouse space, repositioning existing dock space, and investing in critical equipment. As the Journal article points out, government investment in our nation’s ports has generally not kept up with their growth. But we’ve been more fortunate than most in government partnership.
With critical support from the State of Ohio and Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), we recently began constructing a new warehouse on dock and will soon have two modern cargo cranes available to make our operations even more efficient. These were funded through a combination of grants and forgivable loans from the State and NOACA, and we’re grateful for their support of these key infrastructure investments.
As the largest of our nation’s coastal ports continue to struggle with the swell in demand, the Port of Cleveland is ideally positioned to provide speedy, efficient, and reliable service to those seeking access to global markets. It’s clear that it’s time for the Fourth Coast to reach its potential as a major trade lane for the Midwest.
Will Friedman, President & CEO
Today, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority filed a motion in federal court to join the State of Ohio as a plaintiff in litigation to resolve a dispute with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the proper management of material dredged from Cleveland harbor and the responsibility for associated costs. 2015.04.23 Full Media Advisory
Board approves funds for new cranes and warehouse construction
Cleveland, Ohio (April 22, 2015) – The Board of Directors for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority met today and approved a series of critical investments in its docks and maritime capacity that will better position the Port with shippers and operate in a more green, efficient manner. The $7.9 million in infrastructure improvements, funded fully through grants and forgivable loans, include construction of a new warehouse, purchase of new cranes, and new equipment to support the Cleveland-Europe Express liner service operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group. 2015.04.22 Full Press Release
Offshore wind has emerged as a major player in the renewable energy economy of the future – and Cleveland has an opportunity to become a leader in the field, thanks to the work of Lake Erie Economic Development Corporation (LEEDCo). I was recently honored to join the board of LEEDCo, a local non-profit formed in 2009 to spur economic development in Ohio by supporting our nascent offshore wind energy industry. The Port of Cleveland was among a small group of public and private interests, led by Cuyahoga County, which provided initial seed funding for LEEDCo when formed.
The timing for LEEDCo’s work is right. As of 2013, the offshore wind industry was on target globally to hit its seventh consecutive year of growth. Internationally, countries are already meeting significant portions of their energy needs through offshore wind. The London Array, the world’s largest off shore wind farm with 175 turbines costing over $3 billon, powers 500,000 English homes. Denmark has set a goal of producing 50% of its electricity from renewable wind by 2020 – and is already above 30%. Even China, not necessarily associated with renewables, now stands at fourth globally in offshore wind production.
All signs also point to offshore wind energy as a growth industry in the US. While our nation currently has deployed only one small-scale demonstration offshore wind turbine, that’s all about to change. The US Department of Energy has moved ahead with pilot projects off the coasts of New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia. The very first offshore wind project will begin construction this summer off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. With many other projects and pilots in progress, it’s clear where the momentum is headed. In fact, the Energy Department estimates that 20% of all US’s energy could come from wind power by 2030.
Competition in the offshore wind market is heating up, with major international corporate players looking to make waves in the US. But Ohio has the opportunity to compete and win, thanks to LEEDCo, which has set, and is on track to realize, ambitious goals. Those goals include making Cleveland the site of North America’s first offshore freshwater wind energy project, called Project IceBreaker. Projections are for that project to be completed and generating clean electricity in 2018, leveraging IceBreaker to pave the way for 5,000 MW of wind energy in Lake Erie by 2030.
In addition to the iconic impact on our collective psyches of seeing the turbines in action, the real impact will be twofold: environmental and economic. Our region will better positioned as a leader in environmental issues, including clean water and energy. And we’ll also attract investment, create jobs, and ultimately export products and expertise, leveraging existing core regional strengths in R & D, manufacturing, and maritime services through the new wind industry.
The Port stands ready to directly serve the project as the assembly and launching platform for the giant windmill components. But beyond that, it seems to me that LEEDCo and the Port share some common DNA. We both pursue ambitious visions for responsible, sustainable use of our Great Lake to foster jobs and competiveness.
Finally, I want to commend Ronn Richard, who chairs the LEEDCo board when he’s not busy running The Cleveland Foundation, and Lorry Wagner, LEEDCo’s CEO. Ronn’s strong advocacy and support have sustained the effort and Lorry has doggedly pushed on despite being buffeted over the years by headwinds (sorry, couldn’t resist that one). With their leadership, LEEDCo is setting the stage for Northeast Ohio in the wind industry. That’s the kind of energy Cleveland can use more of – on so many levels.
President & CEO
New slate of Officers elected as Port positions to continue role in supporting jobs, global competiveness for the region
Cleveland, Ohio (March 31, 2015) – The Board of Trustees for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority today unanimously elected Chris Ronayne as its new board chair. As President and CEO of University Circle, Inc., which oversees the growth and direction of one of Ohio’s fastest growing employment district, Ronayne has led planning, development, education, marketing, police, and other shared services for the district over a decade of sustained growth.
“I’m truly looking forward to leveraging the economic power of the Port of Cleveland to create more jobs for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio,” said Ronayne. “From our international export capacity to our financing capabilities, the Port of Cleveland is a key logistics hub and financing center that can enhance our regional economic development agenda.” 2015.03.31 Full Press Release Port Board Leadership
Dynamic board agenda also includes milestones in development finance and environmental stewardship
Cleveland, Ohio (March 31, 2015) – The Board of Directors for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority met today and approved a dynamic agenda of items in maritime commerce, development finance, and environmental stewardship that will produce benefits for Northeast Ohio’s economy and citizens.
The Board approved a new service agreement with the Spliethoff Group to continue operating the Cleveland – Europe Express, the only direct, scheduled maritime service from the Great Lakes to Europe. The new agreement will double the frequency of the service and continue the momentum from 2014, the inaugural season of the service. 2015.03.31 Full Press Release
Click the link below to read the full press release from the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. 2015 Pacesetter Awards Announced
In 2013, the Port of Cleveland initiated a study to definitively determine what is causing instability in the Irish Town Bend hillside on the Cuyahoga River’s west bank. The slope, also called Franklin Hill, has deteriorated over time, and legitimate anxiety exists that a portion may slide into the river.
To get to the bottom of the situation, the Port Board appropriated funds to engage geotechnical engineers to thoroughly study the site and its history. That work recently wrapped up, and the findings are now available here. As I explain below, we see the news as mostly good, but there are still challenges to address and opportunities to seize.
First, some good news. Earlier studies had estimated the cost to address the threat of a hillside collapse as high as $220 million. Our study pegs that number at a maximum of $48 million, and very possibly less. The bad news is that, while not likely, a landslide that could impede ship traffic and endanger people and property remains a legitimate concern that we must take seriously.
Remediation of the hill will involve a combination of elements including new bulkhead at the river edge, re-grading, street and sewer line repairs, and removing excess water infiltration. This work could be completed within a year once funding is identified and all property owners consent. The planned Lake Link Trail, a key connector to the lakefront at Wendy Park, traverses the hillside, providing further impetus to get the project done quickly.
The Port is committed to teaming with public, non-profit, and philanthropic partners and community stakeholders to secure the funds to ensure a safe, healthy, and economically beneficial solution. Look for more from us in the near future on this issue.
President and CEO
January 6, 2015
Dear Friend of the Port of Cleveland,
By now you probably heard the very sad news that Mr. Marc Krantz, chair of the Port Authority Board since March of 2013 and member since 2009, passed away in a skiing accident on December 28th. Mr. Krantz was managing partner of the law firm Kohrman, Jackson and Krantz and also deeply involved in many civic and community endeavors in addition to his service to the Port.
First and foremost, our hearts go out to Marc’s family. He was a beloved father, husband, son and brother. There are no words to effectively convey our sympathy for and condolences to his family.
Marc we will be deeply missed at the Port as well. He was a visionary leader not afraid to take risk in pursuit of the Port’s mission, a strategic thinker, and a true champion of good governance for the Port organization.
Thanks to Marc, our Port is positioned better than ever to deliver on its mission to enhance economic opportunity and the quality of life in our region. Despite starting the year with heavy hearts, we are inspired by Marc’s legacy to work even harder in 2015 to fully realize the potential of our Port and our region that he intended.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the Port team if we can be of service.
With best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015!
William D. Friedman
President & CEO
CLEVELAND, OH (December 16, 2014) – The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted today to accept an annual budget for 2015; it includes $20 million in capital investments to enhance maritime operations and sediment management. 2014.12.16 Full Press Release