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Thunder Bay port put on ice for the winter

Potash exports reached 10-year high for Lake Superior port
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Potash Loading
Potash loading in Thunder Bay (Thunder Bay Port Authority photo)

The CSL Laurentian was the last grain ship out of Thunder Bay on Jan. 4 before the western Superior port closed for the winter.

A Jan. 10 Thunder Bay Port Authority news release said the port closed earlier than normal but the total tonnage of shipments for the year stood at 8.84 million tonnes, seven per cent higher than the five-year average of 8.29 million tonnes.

The total grain tally for the year was 7.3 million tonnes, down from the 7.5 million tonnes shipped out last year but above the five-year average of 7.1 million tonnes.

Grain volume moving through the port in December was down 25 per cent from the same month in 2016. But the port authority said there’s enough grain remaining in the dockside elevators to make for a strong start to the shipping season in March.

Potash cargoes were the big mover this year with outbound cargoes being exported to Europe and Brazil.

Potash volumes reached 526,000 tonnes, a 10-year high for the port.

Project cargoes of steel pipe, heavy machinery, windmill parts, gas turbines, electrical transformers, and modular buildings, including a prefabricated hotel, remain a going concern with 30,996 tonnes moved over the dock at Keefer Terminal.