Cleveland-Europe express steams forward
A charter agreement reached between Spliethoff Group and the Port of Cleveland board on Thursday ensures that the Cleveland-Europe Express freight shipping service between Cleveland Harbor and Europe via the Saint Lawrence Seaway will begin this spring.
The Cleveland-Europe Express ocean freight service will be the only regular, scheduled international container service on the Great Lakes. The multi-purpose ships for the service will also have room for non-containerized cargoes.
William Friedman, president and chief executive officer of the Port of Cleveland, said 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.
“This service will offer Ohio exporters a faster, more cost-effective and greener solution to get their goods to global markets,” Friedman said. “The Cleveland-Europe Express can handle roughly 10-15 percent of Ohio’s trade with Europe.”
The decision by the port’s board comes at a time when cargo coming through the port is on the increase. General cargo moving through the port of Cleveland in October was up 20 percent compared to October 2012 and, year to date, is more than 20 percent ahead of the port’s 2012 tonnage level.
Initially, the Cleveland-Europe Express will have one vessel call per month in Cleveland and one in a major port in Europe, still to be determined, the Cleveland port authority said.
The agreement with the Spliethoff Group also allows the port to add a second ship, allowing for a vessel in port every two weeks, as demand rises.
The Spliethoff Group owns and operates a fleet of about 100 multipurpose, heavy-lift, and roll-on/roll-off vessels ranging in size from 9,500 to 21,000 tons, all of which sail under the Dutch flag.
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