Strong grain shipments continue to make waves in the Port of Thunder Bay. Nearly 1.1 million tonnes of Western Canadian grain were shipped through the port in August, tripling the performance during the same month last year. For the fourth consecutive month grain throughput hit a monthly 17-year high. The port is now en route to its strongest year overall since 1997.
The port has been playing an instrumental role in clearing a backlog of grain that formed due to a combination of factors including a record Western Canadian grain harvest in 2013 and a severe, prolonged winter that hampered rail shipping. Thunder Bay and the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System are gaining international attention as a competitive, sustainable route for transporting increasing volumes of grain to markets in Europe, North Africa and Latin America. With the 2014 grain crop expected to begin hitting the market in the next few weeks, strong shipments are expected to continue for the duration of the season.
Port elevators handle over a dozen grain types that are loaded onto Canadian Lakers and Foreign Salties and transported to ports domestically and around the world. This year Salty loadings are proportionately higher than usual. 27 percent of all grain shipments (1.2 million tonnes) have been loaded onto Salties for direct international shipment, compared to a five-year average of 15 percent. As a result, the number of Salty calls to the port has doubled year-to-date.