The Great Lakes Group


The Great Lakes Towing Company Completes Intermodal “Short Sea” Barge Operation at the Port of Cleveland Using On-Dock Rail Loop

The Great Lakes Towing Company completed an Intermodal “Short Sea” barge move utilizing the Port of Cleveland’s Rail Loop and the Port’s switching line, Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad.

Norfolk & Southern interchanged the rail car carrying the 114 metric ton transformer to Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad to bring the railcar via the loop to the dock-face under the Port’s heavy lift crane. The cargo was transferred to a barge and was towed by the Tug OHIO to Marysville, Michigan for delivery to DTE Energy Electric Company (formerly The Detroit Edison Company). The tug-barge transit time from Cleveland, Ohio to Marysville, Michigan took 20 hours and the discharge of the heavy lift cargo took 1 hour and 21 minutes.

The Rail Loop and the Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad connects the Port of Cleveland to the two Ohio Class I rail carriers, Norfolk & Southern and CSX. The Port and the Towing Company provide an integrated solution for their customers, making shipping more cost and time effective, and providing international and domestic shippers a better intermodal route to the Midwest.

The Port’s Rail Loop project was inaugurated on September 27, 2012. The project was coordinated by the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) with funding of $3 million from the State’s Logistics and Distribution Fund and a $1.5 million Port contribution. At the time, it was hoped that this rail element would provide the Port of Cleveland a larger customer base that could take advantage of rail and water logistics and extend the reach of the Port of Cleveland to the Midwest. This rail and water logistics movement is an example of the Port’s ability to provide seamless logistics transfers in Cleveland, making shipping more cost effective.

Contact Gregg Thauvette, Vice President of Operations for Intermodal “Short Sea” barge movements and visit our website at

Port President Will Friedman, former Port Chair Bob Smith, Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad Company Co-Owner Bill Brown, and Ronald Rasmus, Chairman of the Towing Company, and a Commissioner of the Ohio Rail Development Commission unveiled the new-on-dock rail loop on September 27, 2012 when they cut through the ribbon.