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2014-01-06 at 15:11

‘Tough finish’

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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The city's shipping season has come to a difficult close, another victim of the recent frigid temperatures.

"It's been a tough finish due to the ice conditions so we have lost a certain amount of shipments to that," said Tim Heney, CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority.

Rail car supply has also been affected.

"With this cold weather, nothing really works that well," said Heney.

This past December, the port saw 885,475 metric tonnes of grain compared to 1,010,325 metric tonnes in the same month the previous year.

The total amount of grain through the port last year was 5.5 million metric tonnes, down from 6.5 million in 2012.

The amount of cargo in general was also down from 7.8 million metric tonnes in 2012 to 6.6 million in 2013.

In 2012 , the city saw 409 vessels; that's domestic and foreign ships. In 2013, there 333 ships that docked in the port.

While numbers were lower in 2013, Heney said they should see carryover from the year's historic grain harvest.

"It was the largest harvest in Canadian history," said Heney. "There's lots of grain left to move."
And while 2013's spring was weak for grain shipments, 2014 will be stronger because of that harvest.

And while the lower numbers are disappointing, Heney said the seaway in general had a down year.

"What you're seeing here is being reflected throughout the system," he said.

While the shipping season officially closes Jan. 16, Heney said activity at the port will be wrapped up by the end of the week.

There are three ships in the harbour as of Monday and two more on their way. All of them should be gone by Friday.

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