Port of Thunder Bay sees solid start to 2019 shipping season

MV Kaministiqua, the first vessel to arrive in port this season, takes on a load of wheat at Richardson’s Current River Elevator. Source: Port of Thunder Bay

The Port of Thunder Bay’s 2019 shipping season is off to a solid start. Cargo shipments from March 28 to April 30 totaled just under 1 million metric tons. That tally is a third higher than the five-year average of 750,000 tons and 10 percent higher than the same period last year, due mostly to strong grain shipments.

A larger contingent of saltie vessels this year compared to last year contributed to the increase in grain movement. Also contributing were higher stock levels of grain at Thunder Bay elevators to start the season; stocks were building in the weeks prior to navigation with the receipt of grain car loads from the Prairies at some port elevators. During the first week of May, above-average prairie grain movement to Thunder Bay continued, an indicator that grain shipments will likely remain strong through the next month.

The port handled its first general cargo shipment of the season in April: an inbound shipment of steel transiting from Europe to Alberta. The steel was delivered by MV Federal Margaree to the port’s laydown areas and is being railed to its destination. She backloaded with a shipment of potash bound for Belgium.

Janenne Pung