March 2020

Message to Port Stakeholders

With ramped-up health and safety measures in place, the shipping season will commence in the Port of Thunder Bay this week. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, marine shipping is vital to the integrity of the Canadian and global supply chain.

Following all guidelines set by Transport Canada in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, terminal operators in the Port of Thunder Bay continue their commitment to the essential service of moving goods safely to consumers. This essential service ensures the well-being of the international community and plays a vital role in the Canadian economy.

In this rapidly evolving situation, the marine sector in Thunder Bay remains dedicated to keeping workers, seafarers and the public safe while moving goods safely and efficiently through the Port. Click the button below for more information from Transport Canada.

Marine Sector Health & COVID-19 [Transport Canada]

The marine transportation sector is prepared for the heightened risk posed by COVID-19. Here’s how the marine community keeps you safe at work, while moving goods safely and efficiently through our ports. [Transport Canada]

Port Activity to Resume

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The 2020 shipping season will start this week in the Port of Thunder Bay following the arrival of the Canadian Icebreaker Samuel Risley on Tuesday, March 24. Upon ice break-out, three vessels docked for the winter at Keefer Terminal will shift to grain elevators to load. Several more Canadian vessels are set to arrive in port later this week after the Soo Locks open as scheduled on March 25. Ice conditions in the Port are favourable compared with recent years.

The opening of marine shipping to Thunder Bay Port elevators will help alleviate the largest winter carryover of grain in Canada since 2014. This year's backlog is the result of a strong 2019 harvest and the impact of rail blockades throughout the country earlier this winter.

The Port had its strongest season in five years in 2019. Grain shipments accounted for nearly 8.0 million of the overall 9.3 million metric tonnes of cargo shipped from Thunder Bay during the season.

Calgary Reception Reinforces Port Partnerships

Port of Thunder Bay's third annual stakeholder reception held this winter in Calgary provided an opportunity for freight forwarders and other shipping partners to network and plan for the upcoming season. Hosted by the Port of Thunder Bay, the event was sponsored by port partners Logistec Stevedoring, Fednav and Protos Shipping.

Attendees represent a cross-section of the Western Canadian supply chain, including producers/suppliers, rail, trucking, customs brokers, and Alberta Economic Development & Trade. Many are current and potential users of the port's gateway to Western Canada for project and general cargo such as energy, mining and oilsands infrastructure and structural steel.

Attendees were eager to learn of the progress on the port's general cargo terminal reconfiguration project which is scheduled for completion in 2020. See below for a project update.

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Terminal Reconfiguration Update

Update on Events

Port-related events are being modified and/or re-scheduled to abide by federal and provincial legislation and to help slow the spread of COVID-19:

Top Hat Ceremonies: Cancelled

Top Hat Honours will be announced but ceremonies will

not take place in order to prevent the potential spread of virus

between participating parties

Annual General Meeting: Postponed

New Date TBA

Open of Navigation Luncheon: Postponed

New Date TBA

Mission to Seafarers Fundraising Dinner: Postponed

New Date: Friday, October 23

2019 Season Recap

The 2019 shipping season wrapped up on January 12, 2020. The season featured notably higher cargo shipments than the past several years.

Strong shipments of prairie-grown grain and other dry bulk commodities from Western Canada buoyed the port’s cargo tonnage to 9.3 million metric tonnes (MMT), the highest since 2014.

Grain volumes increased by 500,000 MT this year as Thunder Bay elevators funneled larger quantities of canola to markets in Europe and South America. Potash shipments remained above average for a third-straight year.

Both the foreign and domestic vessel fleets contributed to the strong season in Thunder Bay; vessel calls and cargo tonnage for both fleets were up compared to the prior year. Three domestic vessels wintered at Keefer Terminal for seasonal refurbishment.

The Port of Thunder Bay is projecting another strong season in 2020. Thunder Bay grain terminals continue to set the bar for efficiency, producing the fastest railcar and vessel turnaround times of all Western Canadian grain ports.

Gallery: 2019 Project Cargo