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Cleveland-Europe Cargo Shipping Service Adds India To Route

Fortunagracht docked in Cleveland, 2014 (photo: Brian Bull/ideastream)
Fortunagracht docked in Cleveland, 2014 (photo: Brian Bull/ideastream)

By ideastream’s Brian Bull

Since April 2014, a shipping line has carried goods and raw materials between northeast Ohio and Europe.

Now operators say the Cleveland-Europe Express plans to add India to the itinerary.

Jade Davis is Vice President of External Affairs with the Port of Cleveland.  He says late last year, their partner, The Spliethoff Group, began to explore having the ships make stops in the Asian nation.  They plan to partner with another shipping company based in Bangalore, India. 

Davis adds since the ir announcement, several northern Ohio companies have expressed interest in the new line.  

“Manufacturers, light industrial, and heavy…the really ‘Cleveland manufacturing’ stuff is very interested in seeing how they can get goods in and out of the country,” says Davis. “And it’s not just goods, but it’s also finished products that they utilize for their products.”

Davis says Spliethoff is shouldering the cost of extending the shipping line.  In 2014, the Port invested $5 million in the Cleveland-Europe Express.   This coming year, Davis figures the Port will spend less than half of that. 

It’s not clear yet what Northeast Ohio goods will be traveling to Asia.  Davis says he’s received inquiries from regional companies but declined to name the businesses.

“Right now we’re operating and investing as if this is going to be a permanent service to the port,” he says. 

“We’re really looking at infrastructure investment, at some of the docks, and building a new warehouse for container trans-loading.  And also, we have two new cranes that are coming in, that’ll be delivered at big of shipping season, that will handle just purely our container traffic. 

“So we’re making investments to make sure that we can have an efficient streamlined service, and have a permanent service to offer.”

In its first year, the Port of Cleveland lost nearly $3 million on the Cleveland to Antwerp route and interest seemed tepid among Ohio manufacturers.

But the following year, the shipping line’s investment partner, the Spliethoff Group, took over more of the costs and logistical operations, and added a second ship.

Davis says Spliethoff and its Bangalore partner will cover the costs of the India venture.