Port of Toledo wins major award for international cargo

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TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - A major honor for the Port of Toledo. It's one of six ports, that are being recognized with what's known as a Pacesetter Award.
The award is given by the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to ports that increase international cargo tonage.

About 7,000 jobs are tied to the Port of Toledo and it has a one billion dollar economic impact on the region. 2016 was another award winning year. Joe Cappel is the Vice President of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, "Toledo is truly a gateway to global markets."

And global business is up double digits, "We were up about 15% from 2015. A lot of that increase is due to grain, direct overseas grain shipments."

Cappel says between 500-800 vessels come in and out of the port every year, up to 100 of them from overseas, "Most of our direct overseas trade is with northern Europe and north Africa and the Mediterranean region.We have had shipments from Mexico and South America as well. We even get shipments from Russia and eastern Europe."

More than 8 million tons of cargo moved in and out of Toledo in 2016.
One of the most common products is aluminum that's brought from eastern Canada to Toledo's general cargo dock, "It is stored at the general cargo dock which is run by Midwest Terminals. It is traded on the London Metal Exchange as well as others. It is then shipped out on trucks to automakers and appliance manufacturers and other users of aluminum."

In addition to aluminum, other cargo includes coal, iron ore and items related to the energy industry, "We're seeing wind towers and windmill blades,transformers. Large equipment and products for Toledo's refineries."

When it comes to freighters, their sheer size of course makes it easier to move that very large cargo, "One ship can carry as much product as 870 trucks or about 225 rail cars. All that cargo moving on the water is pretty impressive."

The port has 17 marine terminals around the Toledo area, stretching from the DiSalle bridge on I-75 up to the mouth of the Maumee River They are all busy. Cappel says the goal is to make sure each terminal can handle multiple cargos, "Any time we buy equipment for a terminal or a new building for our operations it is going to be multi-purpose. We are able to handle just about anything you can load onto a ship with those improvements."

The hope is that even more business will be delivered to the Port of Toledo in 2017.