Study at Cleveland Port Reveals Options

Thursday, February 13, 2003
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has received a capacity study identifying options for sustaining the Port's position as an engine for manufacturing jobs, while the City of Cleveland is opening up the lakefront for greater public access and economic development. The study's main finding was that as the Port vacates key docks and storage areas, then those maritime facilities would need replacement given any reasonable future business projection. The Port of Cleveland is a destination port, meaning it produces local jobs because 90 percent of the Port's cargo is produced or consumed within a 75-mile radius. For example, the Cleveland Cliffs iron ore brought here from Minnesota by Oglebay Norton is used for manufacturing steel at ISG. Three local companies, their suppliers and employees all benefit directly. In 2001, Martin Associates and the St. Lawrence Seaway Association, a major maritime econometrics consulting firm, concluded that the Port Authority makes a significant contribution to the vitality and growth of the regional economy. Because the Cleveland community has a "destination port" there are:

o 11,000 workers employed with good paying jobs in Northeast Ohio o $882 million in business revenues o $350 million in personal incomes o $200 million in local, state and federal tax revenues that support services

On average, more than 14 million tons of waterborne cargo move through the port annually. The Port offers numerous unique amenities to the maritime industry, including deep water docks and excellent railroad and interstate highway connections. The capacity study helps decision makers keep Port facilities strong while Cleveland's lakefront adds new uses. TranSystems, a major maritime consulting firm that has completed over 300 studies internationally using the same model, prepared the analysis. Cargo forecasts were adjusted based on 1998-2002 actual tonnage. According to Port Executive Director Gary Failor, "The study's purpose was to evaluate the capacity of existing port facilities and estimate future needs based on the return of Dock 32 to the City and the potential for a trans-Erie ferry service." The Port worked with the City to fashion a proposal that returns Dock 32 to the City and also brings a new, proposed 20-acre park on the eastern side of Whiskey Island for the City of Cleveland, should the Port be successful in its offer for the acquisition of the Whiskey Island property. Failor pointed out that the Port will vacate Dock 32 in January 2004 but that the other potential scenarios would not be realized for years, giving the Port, City and County an opportunity to plan for those scenarios. Failor continued, saying, "Dock 32, 28 and 30 are 22 prime acres owned by the City and leased to the Port. Should the Port need to vacate any of these docks, replacing our capacity is essential to preserve our manufacturing industries and their jobs." Based on the study, Failor concluded that vacating Dock 32, with the proposed construction of a state-of-the-art warehouse on Dock 20, and the potential for a ferry service on Docks 28-30 would accommodate average annual capacity plus 30 percent on the east side of the river. Additionally, the study showed that Cleveland Bulk Terminal located on Whiskey Island did not have enough capacity to allow for new customers or commodities - such as the bulk stone from the river - necessitating the need for the Whiskey Island Marina to be available for bulk expansion at some point in the future to offset other property re-uses. "The capacity study showed that vacating docks will need quick replacement to maintain our cargo-handling capabilities, as soon as one to two years after implementation," Glover said. "We want to sustain existing economic strengths, and help open up Cleveland's waterfront as one of the real talent magnets our City needs to compete in the 21st century." Chairman Glover concluded: "We need room to support Cleveland industries and our customers - to spur the Northeast Ohio economy. We look forward to working with our partners at the City and County to meet maritime needs and work toward mutual goals on the lakefront."

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