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Economy and Business

Transforming Cleveland's port: Regularly scheduled service to Europe begins
The head of the St. Lawrence Seaway celebrates it as part of the "opportunity corridor"

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M.L. Schultze
The Dutch ship Fortunagracht arrived Saturday morning from Antwerp, Belgium.
Courtesy of M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:

The first regularly scheduled cargo ship from Europe to the Great Lakes has unloaded its containers and other cargo at the Port of Cleveland -- to the delight of supporters who say it could transform shipping in the Midwest. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke to one of those supporters, former Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton, who now oversees the St. Lawrence Seaway.

LISTEN: St. Lawrence shipping begins

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The ship arrived Saturday morning from a trip that began in from Belgium and wound its way up the St. Lawrence Seaway. And it was held up for a few hours by some clogs of ice still floating.

Still, the monthly trips are expected to be up to four days faster than unloading the freight on the East Coast and sending it by truck and rail from there.

Betty Sutton says the regular schedule of the monthly trips is crucial.

“Manufacturers have not had the benefit of knowing when a ship would be arriving, when it would be going out on a regular schedule. This offers businesses that opportunity so there’s more certainty. It’s also a very environmentally (good) way to move goods. So this opens up a brand-new door.”

The vessel’s first round trip carried cargo from seven countries and five states.

The Port of Cleveland estimates as much as 400,000 tons of cargo a year will be carried by the Spliethoff Group’s scheduled service.

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