Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay port closes busiest shipping season in over 20 years

The Port of Thunder Bay wrapped up a shipping season that had its highest volume since 1997.
The Port of Thunder Bay had an annual cargo volume of over 10 million metric tonnes during the 2020 shipping season, the first time it surpassed that mark since 1997. (Supplied by the Port of Thunder Bay)

The Port of Thunder Bay wrapped up a shipping season that had its highest volume in two decades.

The port announced on Tuesday the annual cargo total surpassed 10 million metric tonnes for the first time since 1997.

Port officials said overseas demand for grain resulted in more than 150 foreign ocean vessels loading grain, the second-highest total since the St. Lawrence Seaway system opened in 1959. The port handled 9.2 million metric tonnes of grain during the 2020 season.

As well, the first shipment of phosphate fertilizer, which is being stored and will later be sent by rail to prairie farms, was handled at Keefer Terminal last month. Further shipments are planned for the spring.

"This cargo represents an opportunity to increase inbound shipments in Thunder Bay, capitalizing on the large volume of outbound shipments and available capacity," Port of Thunder Bay chief executive officer Tim Heney said in a statement.

"We have invested heavily in infrastructure and marketed a two-way route that adds value for businesses shipping to and from the west."

The final vessel of the season departed the port on Tuesday afternoon, loaded with grain, bound for Windsor.