Port of Cleveland OKs $32M in site upgrades

The Port of Cleveland is the only container port on the Great Lakes, with bi-weekly service between Cleveland and Antwerp, Belgium on a service called the Cleveland-Europe Express (Port of Cleveland). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Port modernization also enhances sustainability

Cleveland’s international water port took a significant stride this week toward the future as its board approved the allocation of $32.1 million in federal and state grants to help rehabilitate and modernize a key warehouse and upgrade electrical infrastructure at its General Cargo Terminal. This strategic move will ensure ongoing efficiency of port facilities and prepare the port for upcoming electrification efforts.

William Friedman, port president and CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (Port of Cleveland) said the investments were critical to successful port operations as well as sustainability.

“These initiatives stand as a testament to our commitment to sustainable practices,” Friedman said in a written statement. “True environmental stewardship requires translating words into meaningful, concrete actions. Through these measures approved today, we are actively decarbonizing and forging a path toward a greener and more sustainable future.”

The undertaking is part of a broader investment of $93.8 million in the Port of Cleveland’s infrastructure since 2015, with more than 75 percent of it covered by state and federal grants. Aligned with the port’s recently implemented Climate Action Plan, the overarching goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making Cleveland the first Great Lakes port to adopt such an ambitious plan.

The largest grant to fund these projects is $27.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program to improve safety, efficiency and reliability of movement in and around the port. Also, $4.9 million is from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Maritime Assistance Program for projects enhancing efficiency and capacity of cargo terminal operations.

The Port of Cleveland, located on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, secured $32.1 million in state and federal funding for cutting-edge upgrades, paving the way for modernization and sustainability (Port of Cleveland).

Friedman said the funds will be allocated toward comprehensive rehabilitation and modernization of the terminal’s largest warehouse, Warehouse A, including structural steel repairs, a new overhead crane, window replacements, new concrete slab, updated lighting and a new roof. He noted that Warehouse A is over 50 years old and can’t accommodate evolving technology the port needs for successful operations.

The port will also develop an Electrification Master Plan and install a new terminal electric feed in collaboration with Cleveland Public Power, which Friedman said has been an integral partner in providing technical expertise and planning for sufficient capacity for the port’s electrification goals.

He highlighted the importance of the new electric distribution hub, which will lay the foundation for future electrification efforts, including cargo handling equipment, charging stations, switching locomotives, ships when docked at the port, mobile harbor cranes and potential solar arrays on the warehouse roofs.

The Port of Cleveland will also invest in stormwater collection and treatment infrastructure to ensure the quality of stormwater discharging into Lake Erie, building resiliency to climate change impacts such as increased storm intensity and heavy rainfalls.

A new learning center for students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Davis Aviation & Maritime High School will be constructed although the site for this project has not yet been identified. Two smaller buildings at the port’s terminal will be constructed as warehouse annexes, opening cargo traveling lanes and freeing up additional cargo laydown space.

Multiple ships visited the Port of Cleveland on a rainy July 2020 day in the wake of the worst of the global pandemic of 2020, showing the port’s resilience (Marinerong Turagsoy).

To begin carrying out this ambitious project, the Port of Cleveland’s board also authorized an engineering design contract with Jacobs Engineering Group for the project. Jacobs was selected through a competitive process.

The Port received letters of support for the federal funds from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. David Joyce, Shontel Brown and Marcy Kaptur and former U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

“The port is an economic engine for the community, a key to Northeast Ohio’s global competitiveness and a partner in building the region’s future,” Sen. Brown wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This project will work to increase the port’s efficiency in cargo movement with much needed improvements around the warehouse. It will also enable a more energy efficient warehouse, which will help greatly decrease carbon emissions.”

J. Stefan Holmes, the Port of Cleveland’s board chair, expressed sincere appreciation to both the U.S. and Ohio Departments of Transportation for their generous grants and their recognition of the vital significance of the ongoing projects at the Port.

“It is through collaborative partnerships such as these that we can fortify our position for sustained success in the years ahead,” he said


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