In December 2013 Dutch shipping company Spliethoff and The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority in Cleveland, Ohio struck a deal to start the first combined container and general cargo shipping route between Cleveland and Northern Europe. Now with the opening of the lakes the first shipment is underway to Cleveland.

Spliethoff's Fortuna docked at the Port of Antwerp
Spliethoff’s Fortunagracht docked at the Port of Antwerp

The route dubbed the ‘Cleveland-Europe Express’ (CEE) has just opened for the season, slightly late in the year due to the cold winter conditions in North America. The Fortunagracht, one of Spliethoff modern multipurpose vessels, loaded its first containers and project cargo at the port of Antwerp for its 12 day journey arriving mid April. The route will take the vessel from the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks, canals and channels to the Port of Cleveland in the Great Lakes.

Through Bills of Lading are offered from door to door using Spliethoff’s rapid European logistics network between Antwerp and Russia, Finland, Baltic States, Poland, UK and Spain. In the US it is Spliethoff Cleveland that takes care of the onward connections to and from Cleveland and Midwestern America. Spliethoff will operate a year round service. Cargo will vary from containers, to project cargoes, yachts, windmill equipment, heavy lifts, break-bulk cargo, various steel cargoes and dry bulk.