May a strong month at Thunder Bay port

Things are picking up at Thunder Bay's port.

Shipments included large volumes of grain, potash, soybeans

A shipment of wood pellets is unloaded at the Port of Thunder Bay in May 2018. The month was a strong one at the port, with high volumes of grain, soybeans and potash, as well as project cargo like wood pellets and structural steel, passing through. (Port of Thunder Bay)

Things are picking up at Thunder Bay's port.

Port of Thunder Bay CEO Tim Heney said ice conditions, as well as a strike by CP rail, slowed things down in the early part of this year's shipping season, which officially opened in March.

"But we're coming back now," Heney said Thursday. "The car unloads are coming up somewhat, and it is going to end up being another strong year, I think."

Recent statistics released by the port show May was a strong month, with more than 840,000 metric tonnes of grain, about 104,000 metric tonnes of potash, and nearly 78,000 metric tonnes of coal bolstering the port's overall totals for the month.

"Generally speaking, the overall total tonnage, strong but not remarkable, I would say," Heney said.

Also of note, Heney said, were project cargo shipments. May saw windmills, wood pellets, structural steel and a railcar cabin unloaded at the port; those shipments totalled about 4,500 metric tonnes, about 1,200 metric tonnes higher than the five-year average for that type of cargo.

"It's been good," Heney said. "We've got some more varieties of steel coming next week, and it continues to build."

"It's been quite encouraging that way."

The statistics also show about 6,200 metric tonnes of liquid bulk passed through the port in May; no dry bulk shipments came through the city's port during that time period.

The statistics also show 36 domestic and 13 foreign ships visited the Thunder Bay port in May.