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2014-06-02 at 14:47

Port heats up

By Kathleen Charlebois, for tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Record cargo numbers at the city’s port has led to significant hiring in the grain elevators and inspection services.

“I don’t have a number exactly, but I would say an extra 100 people,” Port Authority CEO Tim Heney said Monday about the recent hiring increases.

“That’s not including railways, so they’re busy as well. I’m sure you see ads in the paper right now hiring conductors for CP.”

The Port of Thunder Bay saw record activity this May that are the best since the 90s, Heney said, particularly in grain shipments.

About 1.3 million tonnes of grain was exported through the port, enough to fill 14,000 rail cars.

“We had a bunch of firsts in Thunder Bay this year. The latest opening ever, the most ice cover and of course the largest grain harvest last year in the history in Canada. So all of those things conspire to a surge of grain that was built up.

“The other thing that happened was the government ordered the railways to move a minimum amount of grain, and that turned a lot of attention on Thunder Bay, so we’ve seen a big surge built up that demonstrates the capacity of the port.”

Among the cargo was a transformer coming in from Alberta “that was heavier than the (port’s) crane could lift”, Heney said. “It was about 350 tonnes.”

Heney adds that the shipping numbers should be similar in June and throughout the summer.


 

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tsb says:
I blame the government.
6/2/2014 4:08:31 PM
eventscentre says:
Hey wait, all the tbnewswatch experts predicted that the port would be dead within a few years. Hmmmmm.....maybe these same scholars could do us a favour and with their crystal balls they can tell us that the lumber industry will NEVER come back and that Thunder Bay is just a welfare municipality that will die within ten years. Please tell us that EXPERTS
6/2/2014 5:39:47 PM
Shane Caker says:
You forgot to add that the ring of fire will never, ever happen.
6/2/2014 6:20:06 PM
eventscentre says:
Good job! By the time we're all dead the mining sector will save our province due to your prediction!
6/2/2014 11:09:36 PM
bluebear1985 says:
They can't be right 100% of the time. Even the biggest geniuses in the world can't. I'll bet that nobody could have predicted this. This shows that you should always expect the unexpected.
6/2/2014 6:50:52 PM
anvil of crom says:
I suspect the reason behind this is that tarsands oil production has increased. This extra capacity has to get to market.
BUT Keystone has been delayed by Obama, and the transcanada east west link has not yet been Ok'ed to transport tarsands crude. Add to this oil makes more money for the railroad then grain.
So ,Grain has been piling up in the prairies, and grain producers have complained to the feds to get their product out.
Keystone would have absorbed the extra oilsand production to get to refineries in Louisiana.
When and if keystone and the TransCanada west east link gets Ok'd by the powers that be, rail will be taking grain and we may see these excess jobs gone.
6/2/2014 10:13:49 PM
eventscentre says:
You suspect? I suspect the moon is going to disappear and telescopes will become obsolete. So what happens 'when and if' keystone gets okayed? If it doesn't, does grain shipping get out of control and Thunder Bay has to hire another five hundred people? Keep us abreast of your suspicions please.
6/3/2014 7:58:23 AM
anvil of crom says:
you have a valid point.
The thing is its a matter of trying to get two different products to market on the same transport system.
Dropping grain off to shipping by boat here versus further east to Baie Comeau or Sarnia, allows the train to get back west for more trips until the mandated grain is transported.
Which in turn causes the train transport to be freed up sooner for oil transport once the grain backlog is taken care of.
If the trains did not take any oil at all I would think there would NOT have been such a big sudden boost in associated jobs.
There would be a more constant flow of grain.
Oil in the tarsands is basically land locked and this has caused a lot of issues with its transport.
6/3/2014 10:16:10 PM
Tbay Import says:
I think you are right. This was big news about three months ago and, as stated, the federal transport minister forced CN and CP to start moving a minimum amount of grain daily (it was a paltry amount, but better than nothing). I bet it will still take two or three years for the entire 2013 crop to move through the system, so it may not be permanent employment for those people, but maybe a few years (what else can anyone ask for these days?)
6/3/2014 8:04:01 AM
Tbay99 says:
Anvil don't mean to sound rude but you couldn't possibly be more wrong. A shortage of railcars are what's keeping the port from being even busier.. It's MUCH cheaper/efficient to rail grain to Thunder Bay and ship it rather then rail it directly to Montreal (where much of the grain goes after). Rail companies prioritize oil over grain for the profit margins and tend to neglect grain, if the pipeline were built the rail companies would have no choice but to start railing grain more efficiently and thus helping the port.
6/2/2014 11:13:25 PM
anvil of crom says:
No your not rude , and yes I got it kind of wrong.
But we do see a common point, oil makes more money, and rail has been transporting oil not grain.
I think it was more of the sudden big boost of grain jobs, versus a continual employment of the same, that I was trying to explain and missed my point.
But it was caused by tarsands oil. When keystone and the TransCanada get approved more grain would come through at a more constant rate, and may also go to Sarnia or Baie Comeau, or am I wrong?
6/3/2014 10:27:08 PM
S Duncan says:
This is the result of the Wheat Board getting the ax.

Thank Harper for this. It will allow more farmers to profit and allow less red tape in moving the product to the markets across the world.

This has nothing to do with Thunder Bay itself. This was just another good example of how business thrives when red tape bureaucracies are forced to go away and stop skimming the profits for themselves.

Harper continues to impress!
6/2/2014 11:32:23 PM
tsb says:
Guys, we didn't ship anything until late April and there was a backlog.
6/2/2014 11:35:58 PM
The Beaver..... says:
anvil

The lowest margin commodities moved on Canada's Railroads is oil. If you consider the cost to build new terminals to handle Oil it will be a long time before the break even point.
The Railroads own only a very small amount of Tanker Cars. Most all are privately owned or leased.
6/3/2014 1:48:07 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Adding a few temps to clear the spring backlog was never a newsworthy item in the past, right?
6/3/2014 1:57:33 PM
Eastender says:
Wow, all of a sudden T. Bay is booming. One hundred temporary jobs, who'da thunk it. Boy were those doom and gloomers ever wrong.
6/4/2014 2:21:26 PM
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