A ship is dock at a terminal on Nov. 2, 2012.
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THUNDER BAY -- The city’s port has seen a boom in activity in the past two months since the federal government demolished the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly.
The Port of Thunder Bay saw an increase in ocean vessels this fall. A total of 22 vessels docked at the port since the start of September, with another 12 ships coming in October.
That’s the most visits the port has seen in a single month since 2007.
The majority of those ships coming into the city were transporting grain headed for ports in Europe and in North Africa.
“We’re two months into the loss of the Wheat Board monopoly and we’re trying to determine if there’s been any change in the port activity,” said Tim Heney, CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority.
"The last two months were the two biggest months we’ve had in the last 15 years for grain and ocean vessels are on the rise. Grain transportation is shifting more responsibility to the grain companies in Thunder Bay so we’re seeing more of that being booked on ocean vessels.”
The majority of cargo coming into the port has gone up since last year except coal and dry bulk. Coal dropped by 51,000 tonnes from 658,000 and dry bulk by 23,000 tonnes from 106,000.
But the total amount of cargo that has come through the port this year to date is 5.77-million tonnes compared to 5.66-million tonnes last year.
Heney said no one knew for certain what was going to happen when the Wheat Board lost its monopoly so he’s glad that there’s positive change happening at the port.
“Certainly on the project cargo side it produces a lot of jobs for us but in terms of bulk the elevators are fairly automated,” he said.
“We can handle a lot more grain without a lot of bodies. The only time you’re going to see that if another elevator opens. There will be a slight increase in jobs but it certainly maintains what we have now.”
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