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Thunder Bay port closes for 2023 shipping season

Port authority saw positive trending volumes with grain and potash shipments
The last ship of the 2023 season

The Port of Thunder Bay closed on what representatives are calling a very successful season.

The 2023 shipping season closed last Thursday as the last ship left the city, making its way out of Lake Superior before the locks close for the winter.

Chris Heikkinen, CEO of Port of Thunder Bay, said 2023 was a busy year for the port with high numbers of product coming through, most notably grain shipments.

“We’ll have the final numbers coming forward, but certainly the grain was on a positive increasing trend this season,” he said. “It’s looking like about 1 to 1.5 million tonnes of grain in, over and above the volumes we saw in 2022.”

Potash shipments came in second place with dry bulk, which are miscellaneous items, coming in third, according to Heikkinen.

With the warmer weather experienced this year, ice breakers weren’t required as the water stayed clear right up until the season closed.

“That gave us a little bit of a leg up, because it can be a little tricky some years when the ice is getting thick and you have to move in these big steel ships,” Heikkinen said.

“So, it was a bit of a blessing that we didn’t have to deal with that this season.”

Final port stats are expected to be available early next week

— TBnewswatch