A backlog in the movement of grain on the Western Prairies and a slow start to the Great Lakes shipping season made May one of the busiest months in the history of the Port of Thunder Bay.
The western Lake Superior port handled more than 1.5 million tonnes of grain cargo last month, “the largest single tally in any single month since 1998,” said the port authority in a June 2 news release.
Extremely thick ice conditions delayed the port’s opening date by four weeks, but the port managed to catch up and even surpass the monthly totals on grain volumes for May, 2013.
The port authority said even coal and dry bulk shipments showed strong performances.
Vessel calls for May were up sharply over last year, which included 26 foreign “saltie” vessels, the most in any month since 2000. Salties transported a third of the port’s cargoes for the month.
Projections for June indicated a continued surge as grain haulers continue to point to Thunder Bay as a “preferred export port” for last year’s Western Canada grain harvest, said the authority.