Ashtabula City Port Authority Board of Directors
Ron Kister, Chairman
Joseph Varckette, Vice Chair
Janet Vettel, Secretary
The Board meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month in the Pre-Council Chambers in the City’s municipal building, first floor. Meetings begin at 8:00 a.m. and are
open to the public.
The City of Ashtabula was founded in 1796 by Moses Cleaveland, and Ashtabula Harbor has the distinction of being the first port on the Great Lakes to be officially surveyed. As the area became settled, private citizens raised the money needed for the first improvements to the Ashtabula Harbor and its river channel.
By 1830, Ashtabula’s port was a hub of activity for many of the Great Lakes communities and, at one time, the port was considered to be the third largest receiving port in the world. The construction of the Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Ashtabula Railroad in 1873 helped to further the increase of ore and coal trade at the Ashtabula Harbor. In the 1960s the Ashtabula Harbor was the third largest iron ore port in the world.
Today, the City of Ashtabula can be easily accessed by highways, rail and water.
Interstate 90 (I-90) runs east/west and is located approximately 5 miles from the Ashtabula Harbor. The Interstate provides Ashtabula with regional access to major markets east and west of the City, such as Chicago and Buffalo. State Route 11 is a four-lane highway that runs north/south terminating at State Route 531. The Ashtabula City Industrial Park is located just to the east of where Route 11 terminates at the north. Route 11 extends south, providing additional access to major markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Rail service in Ashtabula is provided by Norfolk Southern and CSX.
Lake boats and large vessels have access to docks via Kinder Morgan, R.W. Sidley and Norfolk Southern. Commodities handled through the Port of Ashtabula include coal (exported), iron ore, sand, gravel, stone and limestone (imported). The other eight Lake Erie ports handle similar type commodities including steel, grain, fertilizers and chemicals.