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Port of Cleveland adds major client, equipment

The new Liebherr cranes at the Port of Cleveland unloading the vessel Floretgracht

The Honorable Betty Sutton presents the Port with the 2015 Pacesetter Award. Left is Chris Ronayne, Port Chair and right is Will Friedman, Port President and CEO

The new Liebherr cranes at the Port of Cleveland unloading the vessel Floretgracht

The new Liebherr cranes at the Port of Cleveland unloading the vessel Floretgracht

Inside at the controls of the the new Liebherr crane

The new Liebherr cranes dedication ceremony at the Port of Cleveland

In its quest to be the largest inland port in the United States, the Port of Cleveland made some significant announcements last week, ranging from new overseas shipping business to beautification of Cleveland Harbor.

Last Tuesday, May 10 Lubrizol Corporation, one of the largest European exporters in the state, announced it will now be shipping its container loads of specialty chemicals made in Northeast Ohio to Europe through the Port of Cleveland via the Cleveland-Europe Express service. Previously the company was shipping its products via rail to coastal ports in New York, Norfolk, VA and Charleston, S.C.
 
Now Lubrizol’s shipments will ship directly from Cleveland’s port and travel via the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic. “For them to go through the Port of Cleveland is really a game changer,” says Jade Davis, the port’s vice president of external affairs. “Other companies called us within hours [of the announcement] to see if the port fits their needs.”
 
The new Liebherr cranes Cleveland is the only container port on the Great Lakes and port officials are working to meet the needs of other companies like Lubrizol. The port's business has grown between 500 and 600 percent since 2014, estimates Davis. “If we can get greater volume, the costs can go down,” he says of shipping to Europe via the St. Lawrence Seaway.
 
Meanwhile, the port dedicated two new state-of-the-art Liebherr 280 cranes to assist with the increased loads. The cranes are 40 percent more efficient than the port’s previous cranes and have 40 to 50 percent more lift capacity, according to Davis. “We can do bulk cargo with these,” he boasts. “We can load and unload container ships directly from the dock to a ship, or vice versa.”
 
The port did not have container cranes before the arrival of the Liebherrs, named Crane A and Crane B. The new cranes can handle 20 to 25 containers per hour, Davis says. “Less time on the ground loading and unloading means less cost. It definitely helps us compete and be more efficient with service and production.”
 
The International Longshoreman Local 1317 added 40 jobs to its approximately 125 workers on staff at the port last year and will probably add a few more workers this year, says Davis, while the port itself employs about 20 people.
 
To top off the week, the Port of Cleveland announced plans to illuminate the 150-foot-tall cement silos at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The project, dubbed “Harbor Lights,” was approved by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board of directors last Wednesday, May 11. Herbst Electric will install colorful LED displays to welcome people entering Cleveland via Lake Erie.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 18 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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