The route will be dubbed the ‘Cleveland-Europe Express’ (CEE) and it will start once the Saint Lawrence Seaway opens for a new season this spring. The Saint Lawrence Seaway is a system of locks, canals and channels that allows ocean vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The seaway navigation season – when the locks are opened for ships to get into and out of the ports on the Great Lakes - is usually from late March to late December.
The Spliethoff Group is the largest ship owner in the Netherlands with a fleet of over 100 multipurpose vessels. Spliethoff has vast experience with sailings to the Great Lakes and sees great potential in this new contract. The partnership will mean that more European businesses can reach Midwestern American markets and vice versa. The Dutch ice-classed ships that can sail through the seaway will operate a fast direct monthly scheduled service between Cleveland and Antwerp. The first sailing is scheduled for the end of March ex Antwerp with a sailing time of 13 days to Cleveland.
Through Bills of Lading are offered from door to door using Spliethoff’s rapid European logistics network between Antwerp and Russia, Finland, Baltic States, 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 - even when the Great Lakes are closed. During the closing period cargoes will be taken via a port on US East Coast. Cargo will vary from containers, to project cargoes, yachts, windmill equipment, heavy lifts, break-bulk cargo, various steel cargoes and dry bulk.