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Grain fuels solid season start for Thunder Bay


The Port of Thunder Bay’s 2021 shipping season is off to a solid start.  Cargo shipments from the beginning of the season to April 30 were 20% higher than the 5-year average.  The 1.27 million metric tonne cargo tally is down 9% from the same period in 2020. 

The season opened March 26, and March shipments exceeded 300,000 metric tonnes for the first time on record.

Grain continues to account for most of the port’s strong cargo volumes, totaling 1.14 million tonnes for the period to end April.  For the third-straight year, Western Canadian grain farmers produced near-record volumes of wheat, canola, and other grain and pulse crops in 2020.  The strong production led to high volumes of winter carryover despite increased exports in 2020 resulting from the global pandemic.

Marine activity at Keefer Terminal during April included two shipments of steel: structural beams and steel rails.  Currently staged in newly constructed laydown area, the steel will be shipped by rail to destinations in Western Canada. General cargo volume exceeded 6,000 tonnes versus the year-earlier 5,400 tonnes.

Domestic vessel calls (51) during the period were up by 7 over last year, while saltie calls were down by 8.  A strong lineup of salties is expected in May. (Photo Port of Thunder Bay)