Solid start to shipping season in Thunder Bay

The Port of Thunder Bay’s 2016 season is off to a good start. Cargo shipments from the beginning of the season, March 26 to April 30, totaled 850,000 metric tons. That tally is 20 percent higher than the five-year average and 11 percent higher than the same period last year, due mostly to strong grain shipments.

The steady start is partially attributable to an earlier opening to the season this year compared with the past two seasons. Last year, the season opened April 10, compared to March 26 this year. Both 2014 and 2015 saw season openings in April rather than March due to thick ice cover on the Great Lakes in the early spring. With very little ice cover this year, the first vessel arrivals were earlier and the shipments have been moving at a steadier pace. In the previous two years, there was a surge of vessel arrivals upon the late season openings, something that was not experienced this year.

Keefer Terminal began its shipping season in April with an outbound shipment of crane parts transiting from Alberta to Europe. The terminal experienced its highest number of project and general cargo shipments last year and that trend is currently continuing, with several shipments expected at the terminal in May.

Maritime Editorial