Thunder Bay Port Witnesses Significant Grain Shipments Surge, Aims for Revival After Sluggish 2022

Ryan Fay -MV Saginaw loading grain at Richardson’s Current River elevator
Ryan Fay -MV Saginaw loading grain at Richardson’s Current River elevator

Port’s grain volume increases by 54% in May 2023 over 2022, marking a promising recovery

Thunder Bay Port’s Grain Recovery

The Port of Thunder Bay, Canada’s gateway to the West, is seeing a remarkable rebound in its grain shipment volumes after experiencing a lacklustre year in 2022. The promising numbers this spring indicate a strong recovery, with grain volumes witnessing a substantial increase of 54% in May 2023 compared to the same period last year. This surge in grain movement through the port comes in the wake of the third-highest harvest yield in the history of Canada in the previous year.

A comprehensive look at the year-to-date 2023 grain shipments shows an impressive growth of almost 63% over the last year, a clear indication of the port’s strong recovery. The grain elevators and facilities at the port have proven to be highly efficient in managing the increased traffic, further bolstering this upward trend.

Potash Shipments Show a Downward Trend

Contrary to the trend seen in grain shipments, the volume of Western Canadian potash moving through the port has seen a decline from its 32-year high achieved last year. In 2022, the port recorded a milestone by handling over 1,204,876 metric tons of potash. This impressive figure was only surpassed once in the port’s history, in 1990, when more than 1.3 million metric tons of potash were transported.

Despite the current decrease, potash shipments are projected to regain their momentum in the coming months, offering a positive outlook for the rest of the year.

Keefer Terminal a Critical Hub in The Port of Thunder Bay
Keefer Terminal a Critical Hub in The Port of Thunder Bay

Keefer Terminal’s Consistent Strength

Keefer Terminal, a crucial hub within the Port of Thunder Bay, has managed to retain its strength in general cargo shipments even at the start of the shipping season. The terminal has consistently shown year-over-year growth, marking another increase this year.

The import cargoes of note at Keefer include shipments of steel rail, wind turbine blades and tower components, and over 20,000 metric tons of phosphate fertilizer. These materials play a crucial role in the growth of various sectors, underlining the terminal’s contribution to the region’s economic development.

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