The Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service will be the only scheduled international container service on the Great Lakes when it kicks off in April 2014.
“Currently, local manufacturers use East Coast ports to ship goods to Europe, incurring additional rail and truck costs along the way,” said Will Friedman, president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland. “The Cleveland Europe-Express will allow local companies to ship out of their own backyards, simplifying logistics and reducing shipping costs.”
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. The Cleveland-Europe Express is estimated to carry anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 tons of cargo per year. This volume equates to approximately 10-15% of Ohio’s trade with Europe.
The Port is in final negotiations with the Dutch company Spliethoff Group to run the service via the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Bart Peters, manager of Spliethoff Group’s America Service, explained that this company plays a leading role worldwide in the transport market for various cargoes, such as heavy lift, general cargo, forest products, project based machinery, and yachts. The company owns and operates a fleet of about 100 multi-purpose, heavy-lift, and ro-ro vessels ranging in size from 9,500 to 21,000 tons, all of which fly the Dutch flag.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the Port of Cleveland is indispensable to the economic success of Cleveland and the other communities in Cuyahoga County, with maritime activities through Cleveland Harbor supporting 18,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic activity annually.
“With the addition of the Cleveland-Europe Express Service, the Port of Cleveland will become more than just a crucial an economic engine for our city,” Jackson said. “It will become the Midwest’s gateway to trade with Europe. And it will be right here in Cleveland.”