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Cleveland Port Secures $32M for Modernization, Sustainability

Tue June 18, 2024 - Midwest Edition #13
Port of Cleveland

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The Port of Cleveland took a significant stride toward the future as its board approved the allocation of more than $32 million in federal and state grants to help rehabilitate and modernize a key warehouse and upgrade electrical infrastructure at its General Cargo Terminal. This strategic move will ensure ongoing efficiency of Port facilities and prepare the Port for upcoming electrification efforts.

William Friedman, Port president and CEO, said the investments were critical to successful port operations as well as sustainability.

"These initiatives stand as a testament to our commitment to sustainable practices," Friedman said. "True environmental stewardship requires translating words into meaningful, concrete actions. Through these measures approved today, we are actively decarbonizing and forging a path toward a greener and more sustainable future."

The undertaking is part of a broader investment of $93.8 million in Port infrastructure since 2015, with more than 75 percent of it covered by state and federal grants. Aligned with the Port's recently implemented Climate Action Plan, the overarching goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making Cleveland the first Great Lakes port to adopt such an ambitious plan.

The grants for these projects include:

  • $27.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration's Port Infrastructure Development Program to improve safety, efficiency and reliability of movement in and around the Port.
  • $4.9 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation's Maritime Assistance Program for projects enhancing efficiency and capacity of cargo terminal operations.

The funds will be allocated toward:

  • Comprehensive rehabilitation and modernization of the terminal's largest warehouse, Warehouse A, including structural steel repairs, a new overhead crane, window replacements, new concrete slab, updated lighting and a new roof. Friedman said Warehouse A, over 50 years old, can't accommodate evolving technology the Port needs for successful operations.
  • Development of an Electrification Master Plan and installation of new terminal electric feed in collaboration with Cleveland Public Power, which has been an integral partner in providing technical expertise and planning for sufficient capacity for the Port's electrification goals.

Friedman highlighted the importance of the new electric distribution hub, which will lay the foundation for future electrification efforts, including cargo handling equipment, charging stations, switching locomotives, ships when docked at the Port, mobile harbor cranes and potential solar arrays on the warehouse roofs.

  • Stormwater collection and treatment infrastructure to ensure the quality of stormwater discharging into Lake Erie, building resiliency to climate change impacts such as increased storm intensity and heavy rainfalls.
  • Construction of a new learning center for students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Davis Aviation & Maritime High School.
  • Reconstruction of two smaller buildings on the terminal as warehouse annexes, opening cargo traveling lanes and freeing up additional cargo laydown space.

To begin executing this ambitious project, the Port board also authorized an engineering design contract with Jacobs Engineering Group for the project. Jacobs was selected through a competitive process.

The Port received letters of support for the federal funds from Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. David Joyce, Shontel Brown and Marcy Kaptur and former U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

Sen. Brown wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: "The Port is an economic engine for the community, a key to Northeast Ohio's global competitiveness and a partner in building the region's future. This project will work to increase the port's efficiency in cargo movement with much needed improvements around the warehouse. It will also enable a more energy efficient warehouse, which will help greatly decrease carbon emissions."

Board Chair J. Stefan Holmes expressed sincere appreciation to both the U.S. and Ohio Departments of Transportation for their generous grants and their recognition of the vital significance of the ongoing projects at the Port. "It is through collaborative partnerships such as these that we can fortify our position for sustained success in the years ahead," he emphasized.

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