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Thunder Bay projects strong finish to active shipping season


Entering the final six weeks of the navigation season, shipping activity remains strong in the Port of Thunder Bay. Monthly shipments were again above average in November, with more than 1.0 million metric tonnes of grain loaded at Thunder Bay elevators.

Increased demand for Canadian grain in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa has led the port to a 20-year high for cargo tonnage. Prairie grain accesses these markets via Thunder Bay, Canada’s western-most port on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Thunder Bay was visited by 32 domestic Lakers, 1 American Laker, and 20 foreign Saltie vessels in November.

Lakers ship to ports within the Great Lakes – Seaway System, while Salties carry cargo directly overseas. Most Laker-shipped grain is transloaded in the St. Lawrence River to salties for export. With a strong December vessel line-up, the Port of Thunder Bay is projecting final overall cargo volumes of 10.0 million metric tonnes for the first time since 1997. The 10 million-tonne tally represents a 14% increase over the port’s 5-year average. (photo Ryan Fay)