Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch.com
Trains unload cargo at the Port of Thunder Bay on Nov. 2, 2011.
The Port of Thunder Bay generates millions of dollars for Ontario’s economy and provides thousands of jobs across the province, according to a new economic study.
Tim Heney, president of the Thunder Bay Port Authority released the numbers of the study at a media conference on Wednesday. The study showed that the city’s port contributed $370 million through vessel activity and cargo handled at the marina terminals and provided 1,800 direct and indirect jobs.
The study was made in conjunction with the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and its more than 100 ports that generates $34.6 billion of economic activity in Canada and the US.
More than 500 indirect jobs were supported by $60.6 million of regional purchases by businesses supplying services at the marina terminals.
Heney said the study shows just how important the port is to the city’s economy.
“It’s been quite a while since we’ve had our study updated for Thunder Bay,” he said. “It just shows the magnitude of the impact the port has on the economy in this region.”
With the addition of a new crane, Heney said it will be a big asset for Thunder Bay and will provide more access to a lot more shipping companies that don’t have heavy gear on their ships.
One of the initiatives of the Port Authority is to diversify the cargo coming in and having a crane will help to accomplish this goal, he said.
“I think we’re going to see some pretty immediate impacts,” he said.
John Heimbecker, vice-president of Parrish and Heimbecker, which is based in Winnipeg, said he’s always suspected that the seaway in Thunder Bay had a significant impact but the study helped to solidify that argument.
“It’s nice to see it articulated and encroached in real numbers,” Heimbecker said. “In terms of Parrish and Heimbecker, we’ve been here since 1913 and this has always been the asset here. There’s a bit of a paradigm shift going on not only in Canada but in the world. You’ve seen grain prices in the last few years have come up enormously worldwide.
“Demand for grain is up, trade is up that’s why these new ships are coming in.”