The coming Prairie grain rush is expected to result in a surge of activity at the Port of Thunder Bay.
The port authority said the western Lake Superior port is on track to ship nine million tonnes of cargo this season, a level achieved just three times in the past 20 years.
As of October 31, the port has handled 6.7 million tonnes of cargo, 11 per cent ahead of the five-year average of 6.0 million tonnes year-to-date.
Cargo volumes are seven per cent ahead of last year despite October shipments being lighter than in 2016.
“October tends to be a volatile month in the port,” said Tim Heney, port authority CEO, in a Nov. 8 press release.
“Last year the port saw very strong grain shipments in October, and this year those shipments were closer to average.”
The authority said the current vessel line-up indicates above-average grain volumes transiting the port in November.
General cargo shipments are also picking up speed with deliveries of heavy equipment, electrical transformers and electrical generators are anticipated in the coming weeks.
A load of steel pipe was received earlier this week and will be transferred to Western Canada by rail. The authority said this marks the first shipment of pipe handled in Thunder Bay in a generation.
The pipe is a spinoff of a growing volume of steel products being imported to the Prairie Provinces through the Port of Thunder Bay since 2014.