Tbnewswatch Local News
Wednesday July 1 2015
12:50 AM EDT
2014-08-01 at 13:58

Busy shipping season continues into July: Port of Thunder Bay

By tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The grain shipments continue to spill into the local port at an aggressive pace.

On Friday the Port of Thunder Bay released new statistics that show grain shipments were up in July by 70 per cent when compared to the monthly five-year average. And when compared to last year’s shipping season, July 2014 featured an 185 per cent increase over the same month in 2013.

This is a dramatic rebound for the port after weathering a slow start to the season because of spring ice conditions. Despite that slow start, May, June and now July all featured significant shipping totals.

The port’s overall year-to-date cargo tonnage now sits at 16 per cent above its five-year average.

The port has also noticed an increase in ocean vessels. Between May 1 and July 31, about 49 salties departed from the port  with cargo loaded from one of Thunder Bay’s grain, coal or potash facilities.

That is more than double the 21 ocean vessels that loaded during that same time period in 2013.

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anvil of crom says:
bumper crop backlogged on the prairies, railway prioritizing oil shipping....no surprise here...
8/2/2014 11:47:31 AM
progress now says:
One of the things Federal MP's tried to do in the 70's and 80's was get the message out to grain farmers that Thunder Bay was western Canada's eastern port - their window on the world. It was a message they tried to have reinforced by provincial, municipal and business organizations as well. Maybe their work paid off.

It was very difficult to get the chamber of commerce in those days to see past Duluth.

Why in the world the Wheat Board gave such a hard time to our port respecting ocean going vessels I do not know.

I don't think Thunder Bay knows how good this news is. This is the single best use for our waterfront - a working harbour. At its peak it was directly or indirectly providing 2/3 of our jobs.

Just imagine - a working harbour again! Its not impossible.

Anything less is vast underutilization of our waterfront.

Way too early to tell - but this is exciting.

Lets hope this keeps up.

8/1/2014 11:14:44 PM
tbay99 says:
Lol, just imagine! Although your positive post is nice to see its just plain wrong. The 2/3 jobs you speak of will NEVER come back no even 1/10th. Back in those days you have HUNDREDS of people working at each elevator. Today the most is around 60.

Too early to tell is just that, this was a bumper crop backlogged by an incredibly harsh winter, it only made sense that it would be busier this year then previous, had the wheat board still been in place it would still be busy. Next year a drought perhaps, and this "busy port" nose dives. This port is and will always be totally dependent on the crop which means total uncertainty, I feel bad for the guys who got new jobs at the elevators thinking it will always be this busy, layoffs come quick when the work dries up.

8/4/2014 1:17:13 PM
progress now says:
Hey thanks for reaching out.

There was a time when people said the jobs at the harbour would never disappear. Now some, as you do, suggest they are gone forever. The truth is we just don't know - and forever is a very long time.

The jobs a working harbour generates are far better than what you will see from Prince Arthur's Landing, and Thunder Bay is an unlikely global destination.

Both Americans and Canadians have a vested interest in the seaway thriving - and its future lies in, as you say, the "uncertainty" respecting geopolitics, climate change and plain old politics.

So I won't laugh at your comments even if I think them funny, because it is impolite. I will say we see the world differently.

There is nothing wrong with that.

8/5/2014 6:06:27 PM
outofgas says:
The Canadian Wheat Board was abolished, so is that what you mean? So, why isn't the port busier every year, not just this year.

As a sidenote, TBay always complained that Churchill sucked away TBay grain business. Well, there were more ships anchored outside the breakwater this week, 6-8, than Churchill loads in a full year.
8/1/2014 11:14:15 PM
portland39 says:
And people cried wolf when the grain commission was abolished. Yes this is partially the result of record crops but removing the commission has made our port more competitive ..... ask any port worker (non - government)
8/1/2014 2:51:37 PM
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