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Economy and Business

Belgian cargo ship creates new export route between Antwerp and NEO
Fortunagacht arrives at the Port of Cleveland in its inaugural voyage to northeast Ohio.

Belgian cargo ship Fortunagacht arrives in Port of Cleveland.
Courtesy of WCPN
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In The Region:
A Belgian cargo ship dropped anchor this weekend in the Port of Cleveland, marking the inaugural voyage of a new export route between Antwerp and northeast Ohio. From OPR member station WCPN, Brian Bull has the story.
LISTEN: Fortunagacht arrives in Port of Cleveland.

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Saturday morning found dozens of workers hustling to unload the ship with cranes and trucks.

A port official says the Fortunagracht arrived around 11pm Friday, and unloading would continue through Monday, breaking only for the Easter holiday. Wind energy components and heavy machinery were among the items shipped in from seven European nations. Nearby, exports ready to go—including a school bus—waited to be loaded for the Fortunagracht’s return voyage. 

David Gutheil, Vice President of Maritime and Logistics for the Port of Cleveland, says the goods come from companies across five Midwestern states. He’s hoping more will take advantage of this new, direct trade route as it will shave 4 to 5 days off the transit time compared to larger, busier ports out east. 

“And then we can get that cargo in and out of the port quickly with no congestion issues," Gutheil said. "If you’re going through East Coast ports, the delays are much more significant due to congestion issues, lack of capacity.”

Port authorities announced its agreement with the Dutch Company, the Spliethoff Group, last fall. The ship is scheduled to head back to Antwerp later this week.

We’ll have more coverage Tuesday afternoon as local– and European– officials are holding a press conference tomorrow morning. 

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

The vessel is registered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Not in Belgium ;)

Posted by: Kees (The Netherlands) on April 21, 2014 2:04AM
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