Port of Cleveland infrastructure investments set stage for continued growth

The Board of Directors of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority met February 8 to review and approve two critical infrastructure investments that will position the agency for continued growth as it fosters economic development in Greater Cleveland.

The port board approved a project to reconfigure and improve the port’s Sediment Processing & Management Facility (SPMF). Over 225,000 cubic yards of sediment must be dredged from the Cuyahoga River Federal Navigation Channel annually to maintain sufficient depth for large ships and maritime commerce.

The port developed the SPMF two years ago to sort sediment and maximize storage space in the existing Confined Disposal Facility (CDF), which saves the costs of building a new facility, in excess of $150 million.

The new upgrades will allow the port to process up to 160,000 cubic yards annually for sale and beneficial reuse. That represents over 65 percent of the total material and any remaining sediment of poorer quality will continue to be placed into permanent storage in the CDF. The SMPF work is expected to extend the useful life of the CDF by 20 years to at least 2037.

The board also approved an application for permits to install new bulkheads at the port’s bulk terminal. The project involves installation of 1,185 feet of new waterfront bulkheads, along with upgrades to tie rods, maritime fenders and the rehabilitation or replacement of mooring equipment.

A total of $6.4 million in federal grant funding will cover more than 75 percent of the cost of the work. Maintaining capacity on the bulk terminal dock is critically important, as the port continues to experience growth, including a 19 percent increase in international tonnage shipped through the port during 2017.

“The Port of Cleveland had another strong year in 2017, but we remain laser-focused on positioning our facilities for continued growth,” said Will Friedman, port President and CEO. “These new investments in our facilities will ensure that the Cuyahoga River remains open for shipping, that our CDF capacity is used as efficiently as possible, and that our bulk terminal docks are in top condition and able to accommodate the continued uptick in cargo traffic we expect in years to come.”

Maritime Editorial