Port of Cleveland welcomes first ship of the 2016 shipping season
The Port of Cleveland welcomed the Floretgracht March 31, the first vessel to arrive on dock for the 2016 shipping season. The Floretgracht is owned by Spliethoff Transport of the Netherlands, which operates the port’s Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) – the port’s liner service between the Midwest, Europe and connecting points worldwide.
Port President and CEO, Will Friedman, was on hand to welcome and present a gift to Captain Joel S. Vistro and the crew of Floretgracht. The vessel was also carrying two new cranes that will service the port’s docks and increase speed and efficiency for its clients.
The CEE has established Cleveland as North America’s inland-most hub for trade with Europe, creating regular maritime commerce between the two regions for the first time in over 40 years. In 2015, the service increased tonnage by over 500 percent and container volumes by more than 400 percent as compared with 2014.
Due to a mild winter and limited ice, the 2016 shipping season began two weeks early as compared to 2015, when the first freighter did not arrive in Cleveland until the second week of April.
“The port is excited to kick off the 2016 shipping season, and it is fitting that the first ship in our docks is the Floretgracht, part of the Cleveland Europe Express, ” Friedman said. “We expect 2016 to be another year of growth for our port and the express is the linchpin of our strategy to provide global maritime and logistics connections through Cleveland.”