Kathleen Charlebois, tbnewswatch.com
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.