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  • Writer's pictureTedd Long

Port of Toledo

One of Northwest Ohio's Most Important Hidden Assets

One of our region's most important assets is almost impossible to see (in its entirety) and completely off limits for exploration. Ever since 9/11, the Port of Toledo has been understandably hidden away on the mouth of the Maumee River at the southwestern tip of Lake Erie. Since onsite visits are not allowed due to Homeland Security restrictions, the only way to get a true sense for the absolutely critical economic role the massive port plays in our region is by boat. If you have never had a chance to experience the Port of Toledo from the water, I highly recommend it.

Our port is a major Great Lakes seaport. Before glass and automobile production, it was the mainstay of this area's economy and it still plays a vital role today. It is home to 15 terminals linked to global markets through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway and it handles over 12 million tons of cargo and 700 vessel calls each year.

Some things to keep in mind when considering the significance of the Port of Toledo:

  • Forty-three percent of the U.S. industrial market and forty-seven percent of the Canadian market are located within a one-day drive (500 mile radius) of Toledo.

  • Toledo is located at a national crossroads of four railroads and two transcontinental highways. In addition to its seaport, Toledo is a major rail center sitting on one of only two major Class I corridors between Chicago and the East Coast and is the major Eastern gateway to all goods produced in Michigan and a significant portion of Canada.

  • The Toledo Shipyard is home to one of the only U.S. full-service shipyards with dry docks on the lower lakes.

  • The Port of Toledo handles huge volumes of bituminous coal, and its free trade zone handles large amounts of grain, machinery and tools, metal ores, vehicles, and industrial equipment.

Toledo’s history and the history of commerce on the Great Lakes are permanently intertwined. There’s no better way to truly grasp the Port of Toledo's regional economic impact and its connection to global markets than to see the vibrant working riverfront for yourself. Find a friend with boat or check out the seasonal boat tours. Trust me, it's a site to be seen.

For more on the Port of Toledo, check out these maps and photos from the Cleveland Memory Project's Great Lakes Industrial History Center. Also, here are some photos from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.


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