The Port of Cleveland is expected to receive the first vessel of its newfound container service on April 17.
The vessel, Fortunagracht
, departed Antwerp last weekend with a load of breakbulk and containerized cargoes.
The Cleveland-Europe Express is the only regularly scheduled international container and non-containerized cargo service on the Great Lakes. The Port of Cleveland and The Spliethoff Group of the Netherlands entered into an agreement in November to begin the service.
“This is a significant first step in establishing the first scheduled ocean cargo service in decades between Europe and the Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence Seaway,” said Will Friedman, president and chief executive officer for the Port of Cleveland, in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the service grow. We know there’s a market for it.”
The service is purported to be the fastest route between Europe and North America’s heartland, allowing regional companies to ship their goods up to four days faster than using a collection of water, rail and truck routes via the U.S. East Coast ports.
will depart for Antwerp on April 18 with machinery and containerized cargo.
The Cleveland-Europe Express will continue to make one roundtrip a month, leaving with cargo from Europe at the beginning of each month and arriving in Cleveland mid-month to unload that cargo, and then collecting exports to carry back to Europe. As demand rises, the port will be able to add a second ship, allowing for a vessel in port every two weeks.
For more details about the origin of the service, read "Cleveland outbound
" in the February issue of American Shipper
, pages 58-59.