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Port of Thunder Bay getting over $6M for infrastructure funding

Up to $6.7 million coming from Ottawa for Keefer Terminal wharf, rail upgrades

THUNDER BAY — Keefer Terminal was on the receiving end of significant funding from the federal government. 

Up to $6.7 million from the National Trade Corridors Fund is being invested in two large projects at the Port of Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski was on hand to deliver the March 15 news on behalf of federal transport minister Pablo Rodriguez. 

"Given the importance of the terminal to our country's economy, this funding is welcome news not just for northwestern Ontario, but also for the Prairies and our entire country,” Powlowski said. 

The CEO of Port of Thunder Bay, Chris Heikkinen, called the two projects important for the port and the city. 

"We're able to provide more capacity for those back-haul cargoes in the port, and really the bottom line here is we're providing more work for locals. It's an economic injection into this city in the region."

The first project is for $3 million to redevelop the existing railway marshalling yard, including adding new heavyweight tracks and switches. 

The second project, valued at up to $3.7 million, will improve the port's capacity by upgrading the wharf, expanding the cargo laydown area, and improving the rail crossing infrastructure between Keefer Terminal and the marshalling yard. 

Keefer Terminal handles inbound heavy, bulk and project cargoes at the Lake Superior port. Most are finished steel products, windmill components and other infrastructure items, mostly headed for Western Canada destinations.

"One of the components is to reconstruct our marshalling yard across the street from Keefer terminal. This is a large swath of rail that isn't meeting the demand of today's cargoes," said Heikkinen.

He said the design work has already started. Construction is expected to start this spring and last until the end of 2026. 

As each stage is completed, that space will become available to be used for cargo and customers. 

The Soo Locks will open early this year, on March 22, and the first vessel to arrive at the port is expected within 24 to 36 hours after that. 

— TBnewswatch