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That’s a wrap

Port of Thunder Bay shutters for the winter
Grain elevator

The Port of Thunder Bay is officially calling it quits for the 2016-17 Great Lakes shipping season.

The last ship through the harbour breakwater was the freighter Frontenac, inbound with a cargo of road salt for the Mobil Ex Terminal on the Kaministiqua River.

The vessel, one of 403 to transit through the port in 2016-17, will lay up for the winter in Thunder Bay.

In a Jan. 9 news release, the Thunder Bay Port Authority categorized the season’s haul as “above average” for the third consecutive year, due to strong grain shipments (7.4 million tonnes) along with increases in coal (778,000 tonnes) and project cargo (31,540 tonnes) volume.

Cargo totals for the year amounted to just under 8.9 million tonnes, “virtually matching the 2015 season tally.”

The port experienced its usual late-season surge in December with grain elevators loading out 1.3 million tonnes of grain for the month.

In tracking monthly grain records dating back to 1995, the port authority called the December volume “unprecedented.”

Keefer Terminal handled 14 project cargo shipments of electrical transformers, wind turbine parts, wood pellets, mining equipment, and an oriented strand board plant.

All factored in, it was a 19-year high for Keefer, and port officials are optimistic 2017 will be another banner year with more shipments of transformers confirmed for the spring.