Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay port sees large number of imports, exports

Thunder Bay is seeing quite a bit of activity at the city's port thanks to strong volumes of imports and exports.

City likely to see more than 20 salties in November, port authority says

Up to 10 salties were in Thunder Bay's port during the first week of November, meaning the city is likely to see more than 20 vessels over the course of the month. (Alisdair Brown)

Thunder Bay is seeing quite a bit of activity at the city's port thanks to strong volumes of imports and exports. 

In a news release, the port of Thunder Bay said they had an above-average October in shipments of grain and other cargo goods.

Last year was the port's strongest in 17 years, said Tim Heney, CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, and this year is shaping up to be almost as good. 

"We fell back a little bit in the summer, but it's picked right back up to around the same levels we had last year," he said.

"So, quite a strong year. Well above the five-year average."

Mining equipment, scraps, wind turbines and wood pellets are among the items travelling in the commercial boats on Lake Superior along with typical shipments of coal and grain. 

The year-to-date general cargo shipments is up three-fold over the five-year average, the news release said. Grain tonnage is also 23 per cent higher than the five-year average, however, it remains lower than last year's busy shipping season.

Wheat and canola make up 94 per cent of the grain shipped through the port, according to the Thunder Bay Port Authority. 

Foreign vessels, known locally as salties, have been loaded with 260,000 metric tonnes of grain in 15 boats.

With 10 salties already in port this month, Thunder Bay is likely to see more than 20 vessels during November. According to the news release, that's only happened twice since 2000. 

Heney said he expects the strong numbers to be more than a short-term trend.

"I think you're going to see higher levels through the seaway now going forward," he said.

"So it's quite a positive thing, certainly, for the seaway."

Grain tonnage is 23 per cent higher than the five-year average in Thunder Bay, however, it remains lower than last year's busy shipping season. (Thunder Bay Port Authority)

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