The Port of Lorain lies at the mouth of the Black River on the southern shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. The Port of Lorain is about 40 kilometers west of the Port of Cleveland and about 35 kilometers east of the Port of Huron, both of them located in the State of Ohio. In 2000, the Port of Lorain was home to more than 68.5 thousand people.
The Port of Lorain is an important shipping center in the Midwest for coal, limestone, and iron ore. It is also home to manufacturers of steel bars and tubes, cranes, power shovels, gypsum products, bearings, and clothing as well as plants that assemble automobiles and trucks.
In 1964, the US Army Corps of Engineers provided $22 million to improve the harbor at the Port of Lorain. In 1967, the American Shipbuilding Company built a 305-meter dry dock facility, and Allied Oil constructed fuel storage tanks on the Black River in 1974. In 1976, city and Port of Lorain officials worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a 23-hectare diked disposal site in the port.
In 1980, Republic Steel ( LTV Steel ) built the new Lorain Pellet Terminal facility for transshipment of ore. In 1981 and 1892, an interim floating tire breakwall was build along the Port of Lorain's east pier to protect the port until the permanent structure could be finished in 1987, and the Marine Harbor Patrol program started operating.
In the mid-1980s, a Strategic Development Plan was published calling for public and private investment to support redevelopment of the eastside waterfront. The permanent breakwall along the east pier was inaugurated in 1987, setting the stage for a full-scale marina to be developed in the harbor.
Marina International was constructed in 1988, and it was expanded to 600 slips in 1989. That year, the Port of Lorain acquired property to provide public access to the lakefront, and the community approved a five-year operating levy. The Lakeside Landing two-hectare public access park was opened on the Lake Erie shoreline. An additional riverfront park was constructed near the Charles Berry Bascule Bridge in the early 1990s.
In 1991, the Lorain Port Authority created the Port of Lorain Foundation to renovate the Lorain Lighthouse, and the foundation began a capital fund-raising campaign.
In 1995, LTV Steel gave a 10-hectare riverside plot to the Port of Lorain to create a civic center, intermodal transportation, public access areas, and festival grounds. In 1996, the Port of Lorain constructed a new boat launch facility on the Black River, and the port authority completed an agreement to develop an industrial park that would attract new businesses and help existing businesses expand, creating new jobs for the Port of Lorain community.
The 10-hectare Colorado Industrial Park was completed in 1998, and the 6.3 thousand square meter Advanced Automotive Systems (AAS) manufacturing was built in the industrial park. As the first project tenant, AAS created 130 jobs. In 199, the US Postal Service completed a new distribution center in the industrial park.
In 2000, the AAS facility was expanded by 1.8 thousand square meters, and an additional 3.7 thousand square meters was added in 2001. The Port of Lorain broke ground for construction of the new Black River Transportation Center in 2001.
The new Black River Landing was inaugurated in 2003, and more than 300 thousand people attended festivals and events celebrating the opening. The Port of Lorain now owned almost seven hectares of land in the waterfront area.
In 2004, the Port of Lorain celebrated its 40th Anniversary, and the Port of Lorain Foundation leased the Riverside Marina building and docks to use as a Lighthouse Museum .
In 2005, a new Farmers' Market was opened at the Black River Landing. The following year, the Black River Landing Stage was constructed, and the Port of Lorain entered into a partnership with the Palace Theater for a summer entertainment series of movies and concerts.
In 2007, the Port of Lorain began a new program of tours by shuttle boat to the Lorain Lighthouse and for nature tours of the Black River. The Port of Lorain also entered into a partnership to create a waterfront development plan that would cover more than 40 hectares of waterfront property to encourage tourism and use of the port facilities. The Lorain-Vermilion Water Trail Project was also started to encourage tourism and cultural and educational activities on the Black River, Vermilion River, and Lake Erie.
In 2008, the Port of Lorain began a ferry service between Lorain and the nearby Lake Erie Islands, and they acquired a new $1.6 million ferry boat for excursions between Lorain and the Lake Erie Islands .