The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation jointly released a new Port of Toledo Economic Impact Study which indicates that the port generates nearly 7,000 jobs and vessel and cargo activity creates more than $1 billion in economic impact.
“There is a lot of good news that comes out of this study. It really validates what we do everyday and take for granted,” said Paul Toth, president and CEO of the port authority. “These are significant numbers.”
Collister “Terry” Johnson, administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, said, “Toledo has one of the most important ports in our entire system and it’s held central to the health of all of us. It’s an extraordinary system. At 2,300 miles, it is the largest water system in the world, central to eight states and two provinces.”
|Collister "Terry Johnson, administrator of the St.
Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, and
Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo Lucas
County Port Authority, during a press conference
at Midwest Terminals of Toledo.
Johnson said the entire Saint Lawrence System creates nearly $60 billion of economic output, including peripheral jobs.
““The Port of Toledo plays an important role in the maritime commerce in Ohio and in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. The port of Toledo is really crucial to the system,” Johnson added. “They have excellent community support from the University of Toledo which provides research, and obviously, the location of Toledo is key. It’s the largest land mass seaport on our system and in the Great Lakes. You can see it’s a port on the move and looking forward.”
Toth added that Ohio is second only to Michigan on the Great Lakes for maritime cargo shipping. That, Toth says, is remarkable considering Ohio has limited coastline frontage compared to Michigan, which he said “has all kinds of lake frontage.” Toth added that the port is continuing to focus on ground and rail aspects of shipping.
“We are focused on significantly connecting all of those modes — I think the future is bright when we look at this same study 10 years from now,” Toth said.
The study, “The Economic Impacts of the Port of Toledo”, was undertaken by Martin Associates of Lancaster, Pa, and looked at the effect of marine cargo activity at the port and throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. Its results were released at a press conference held at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, a partner of the Toledo port, in East Toledo off Millard and Tiffin streets.
Toth said the study’s authors conducted hundreds of interviews and used various economic models to reach their conclusions. The study is based on another study released earlier this year regarding the economic impact of Great Lakes Ports.
“The results of the economic impact study clearly show the positive impact of our seaport’s operations to the Northwest Ohio region,” Toth said. “Thousands of people are employed directly or indirectly as a result of Toledo’s robust cargo handling operations. This includes not only dock workers, but also jobs with railroad and trucking companies, steamship agents, freight forwarders, and many others.
“When we talk about the economic output of a port on a community, it’s very far reaching. It goes beyond Toledo and Northwest Ohio,” Toth continued.
The report indicates nearly 7,000 jobs in Ohio are supported by cargo moving via the marine terminals located at the port. Personal income from those jobs measures at more than $558 million. Business revenue directly related to the cargo activity at the port adds up to more than $381 million and local purchases by individuals and businesses directly dependent on the seaport are close to $173 million.
Awards and investment
Earlier this year, the Toledo port authority was awarded the 11th Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the SLSDC for growth in international cargo during a single season in 2010. The port registered nearly 4.8 million tons of overseas cargo through the St. Lawrence Seaway during the 2010 navigation season, over 16 percent more than the 2009 season. In total, the port registered more than 9.8 million metric tons for the entire season via 576 vessel calls.
Port officials say the port is well positioned as an inland distribution point for North American commerce and is home to 15 terminals, including the Toledo Shipyard — one of the only U.S. full service shipyards with graving docks on the lower lakes. Recent property acquisitions have more than doubled the size of the seaport.
“The port has specialized handling equipment and facilities, which further enhances the value of this shipping unique shipping connection,” Johnson said. “Toledo’s port expansion, along with fewer recent investments in infrastructure and equipment are indicators of the port authority’s commitment to utilizing the Seaway to move Northern American products to customers around the world.”
Also unveiled at the press conference were two new locomotives purchased by Midwest Terminals for the purpose of internal switching. The locomotives compliment other significant equipment acquired to modernize operations at the port.
Over the past two years, the port authority has acquired two new Liebherr LHM 280 mobile harbor cranes, a new Mantsinen 200 material handler and a new dry bulk conveyor. The new Liebherr cranes are the only twin cranes of this type in operation at any U.S. Great Lakes port and are also more fuel-efficient, using only 25 percent of the fuel expended by the previous cranes.
The new Mantsinen, called “Spike” by port workers, is the largest material handler of its type in North America and the new dry bulk conveyor is capable of loading 1,000 to 1,500 tons per hour depending on commodity. The new equipment has been acquired to assist port operations in the handling of bulk, break bulk, project cargo and containers.
“My staff works 10 hours a day, 50 hours a week and all of this investment pays us back thousands and thousands of times over,” Toth said.
The economic impact results of the port further support recent legislation introduced by Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan called the Great Lakes Short Sea Shipping Enhancement Act of 2011, port officials say. Passage of the bill would create a narrow exemption to the Harbor Maintenance Tax — a federal tax imposed on shippers — for cargo transported through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Because the tax is only assessed on waterborne cargo, it serves as a disincentive to move freight by ship, indirectly placing greater demand on the region’s already congested highways. The port says removing the disincentive will help to spur economic growth through the expansion of regional shipping services between ports on the Great Lakes.
Short Sea Shipping legislation (HR 1533) has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio. That bill now has the support of 31 co-sponsors, including Ohio Representatives Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Steve LaTourette and Betty Sutton.