Grain traffic at Thunder Bay up 27 per cent on year

MarketsFarm — Grain movement through the Port of Thunder Bay is reported to be up 27 per cent compared to the previous year halfway through the 2020 shipping season.

A total of 5.05 million tonnes of grain were shipped through Thunder Bay as of Aug. 31, port officials said in a release. That compares with 3.98 million at the same point the previous year.

“Demand for Western Canada’s large 2019 harvest accelerated this spring, as global supply chains were disrupted with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the port authority said, adding “much of that demand was met by forwarding grain to market through the Seaway via Thunder Bay.”

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Performance metrics, including vessel loading time and railcar cycle time to and from the Prairies, have improved on the year, according to data compiled by Quorum Corp.

“The many participants in the grain supply chain, from rail to terminal to vessel, have had to deal with added health and safety protocols employed to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Port CEO Tim Heney said in the release. “They’ve done so without compromising productivity, ensuring the distribution of vital goods.”

Another strong harvest is expected on the Prairies and will begin to ship this fall, which should allow the solid export pace to continue.

“Our year-end projections are narrowing in on the 10-million tonne mark,” Heney said, adding “that volume hasn’t been handled in Thunder Bay in a single year since 1997.”

 

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