CLEVELAND – Channel 3 is giving you the very first look at a ship that could be a part of a program doubling the cargo coming into the Port of Cleveland.
The "Fortunagracht" has been traveling thousands of miles from Antwerp, Belgium heading for the Cleveland Harbor.
The vessel will make regular monthly trips between Belgium and Cleveland for the next two years. However, officials hope the move will be more permanent.
The 450 foot ship will be a part of the only Great Lakes port partnership with regular water only routes to Europe.
The vessel in the Cleveland-Europe Express has the capacity to transport 12.5 thousand tons of cargo. As a result, David Gutheil, VP of Maritime and Logistics at the Port of Cleveland says we'll see something totally different soon. "There's no containers moving in and out of the Port of Cleveland until this vessel is coming in right now," Gutheil reports.
The project will make it easier for cargo coming out of Europe to make it to the Midwest without traveling by water to an east coast port and then moving to its final destination by road. "What we're doing right now is providing an environment where customers who ship these products can come to Cleveland… which is right next door to their manufacturing base or their distribution base," Gutheil says.
Port Authority Officials also report the route will be "greener" and allow companies to ship their goods potentially four days faster than alternative methods.
"What we're doing right now is providing an environment where customers who ship these products can come to Cleveland... which is right next door to their manufacturing base or their distribution base," Gutheil says.
The Port of Cleveland signed the deal with the Dutch Company, the Spliethoff Group, in November of last year.
Coming in on the Fortunagracht's maiden voyage will be European exports including wind energy parts, machinery, and smaller cargo in containers.
Sitting on the Cleveland port - waiting for pick up - is a host of items including cargo containers, road building equipment and a school bus.
The Port of Cleveland will let the public view the ship Saturday April 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.