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April 13, 2015: New CWB Vessel Loads First Grain Shipment in Thunder Bay

The Port of Thunder Bay welcomes today a new Canadian Laker built specifically for transporting grain from Thunder Bay to the St. Lawrence River.  MV CWB Marquis arrived in port last evening and will be taking on its first ever load of grain today at Mission Terminal. 

CWB Marquis is the first vessel to be owned by CWB, formerly known as the Canadian Wheat Board.  The vessel is named after the historic “Marquis” wheat variety, the first wheat variety bred specifically for the short Canadian growing season.  "Marquis wheat has a long and distinguished history on the Prairies and we are proud to name CWB's first laker vessel in honour of its legacy," said CWB president and CEO Ian White. "Almost every variety of wheat grown on the Prairies since the beginning of the 20th century can be traced back to Marquis wheat." 

The vessel is the third Equinox-class vessel to enter service on the Seaway, joining Algoma Central Corporation’s Algoma Equinox and Algoma Harvester.  Algoma Central Corporation will operate and manage CWB Marquis, along with a second CWB fleet-mate to be delivered later in 2015. 

Equinox class vessels are touted as the next generation of Great Lakes bulk carriers with the ability to carry more cargo, sail faster and consume less fuel than their predecessors. The ships are also more environmentally friendly with exhaust scrubbing systems designed to remove 97 per cent of sulphur oxide emissions generated by the vessel engines. 

Winnipeg-based CWB is an experienced wheat and barley marketer, having sold grain to over 70 countries. Since the elimination of its monopoly on wheat and barley grown in Western Canada in 2012, the organization has been transitioning toward a private operating model that includes a network of strategic grain-handling assets and farmer ownership.  CWB has initiated a series of elevator construction projects and acquisitions across the prairies and in port, including the acquisition of Mission Terminal in the Port of Thunder Bay last year. 

Today’s load of 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat and durum, destined for Trois Rivieres and then to Cuba, will be the first of many.  CWB Marquis will be used extensively to carry grain eastward out of Thunder Bay, and iron ore on the return trip from seaports back into other Great Lakes ports.