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January 28, 2016: Another Remarkable Season

The 2015 shipping season officially closed January 14, 2016 with the departure of the lake vessel MV Manitoulin.  Manitoulin carried the final grain cargo of the season from Superior Elevator, contributing to the port’s substantial annual grain tally of 8.0 million metric tonnes.  This level of grain shipments has only been reached twice in Thunder Bay since 2000 (2014 and 2015). 

The port’s overall cargo total for 2015 was just over 8.9 million metric tonnes, ranking as the third-strongest tally since 2000 and 17% stronger than the 5-year average of 7.6 million metric tonnes.  Grain shipments were remarkably strong toward the end of the season, as more than 2.3 million metric tonnes of grain were shipped from the port on lakers and saltys since the beginning of November.  This resulted in November and December 2015 posting the strongest cargo tonnages for those months since 1997 and 1998, respectively. 

Shipments of project cargo and general cargo were very strong in 2015.  Keefer Terminal handled its highest number of project and general cargoes to date (15) which included structural steel, machinery, wood pellets, wind turbines and stators. 

There were 413 vessel calls to the port in 2015, compared to the 5-year average of 387.  This included 125 ocean vessel (salty) calls.  Saltys directly exported more than 2.1 million metric tonnes of grain to international ports in 2015, 80% higher than the 5-year average. 

Canadian lakers shipped more than 5.9 million metric tonnes of grain from Thunder Bay during the season, 15% higher than the 5-year average.  Shippers utilizing Thunder Bay and the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System are benefitting from increased vessel capacity due to the roll-out of the new fleet of Canadian lake vessels over the past several years.