Three months into a new, direct, trans-Atlantic export route between the Port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, operators say it’s a success so far. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports:
In late April, the Fortunagracht dropped anchor in Lake Erie, marking the first half of its inaugural voyage. It unloaded machinery and wind energy components and then packed odds and ends for the return trip to Northern Europe, including a school bus and several cases of Ohio beer.
Skeptics have wondered if the ship would fill out over time or fizzle.
Dave Gutheil, Vice President of Maritime Logistics for the Port of Cleveland, says momentum is building.
“We’ve had three round trip voyages so far: April, May, and June," says Gutheil. "And the June voyage doubled our cargo volume and revenue compared to the first two months.”
Gutheil would not release details on tonnage or revenue numbers. He adds that the Port of Cleveland’s’ overall international shipments are up 20 percent compared to last year.
“We’re actually doing very well compared to the rest of the seaway. The seaway system in general, actually last year was down significantly compared to 2012, so the Port of Cleveland is bucking that trend from an international tonnage standpoint compared to other ports with some of the other Great Lakes volumes.”
The Antwerp to Cleveland shipping route is a two-year pilot program.