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Port of Thunder Bay Reports End to Strong Shipping Season

The final vessel of the shipping season departed the Port of Thunder Bay Sunday, January 13, capping off a busy end to another good year at the Lake Superior port. MV Kaministiqua is headed for Windsor with a load of canola from the Canadian prairies.

Kaministiqua was one of 65 vessels to call the port during the final month of the shipping season, besting the tally of 49 from last year.  Port facilities demonstrated capability and efficiency in December; the port had its third-best month of the last 20 years with nearly 1.5 million metric tonnes of cargo crossing docks.

Prairie-grown grain accounted for the majority of the total; the large sum of grain exported in December brought the port’s annual grain haul to 7.4 million tonnes, up from 7.3 million the prior season.

Annual shipments of coal and potash from Western Canada were strong as well.  Combined, these shipments amounted to 1.13 million tonnes, which is 20% above the five-year average.  The potash tally was the second highest of the past decade; only last year was higher.

Movement of other dry bulk and liquid bulk was slower than previous years in the port and accounted for the slight (1%) drop in the port’s overall cargo tonnage from 8.82 million tonnes in 2017 to 8.74 million tonnes in 2018.

The port’s general cargo facility handled a diverse slate of dimensional cargoes in 2018, ranging from structural steel and rail to windmills to modular buildings.  The terminal’s $15 million dollar reconfiguration project which includes a new rail yard, expanded laydown and doubling the heated storage capacity is underway and is slated for completion in 2020.