Port of Thunder Bay Secures Funding for Capacity Boost

There’s a saying at Canada’s Port of Thunder Bay: grain is the name of the game. Well, that is not actually true. That saying is not official whatsoever, but actions speak louder than words. The port’s operations and facilities render it as one of North America’s largest transportation hubs for grain exports. In 2023 alone, 7.26 million metric tons of grain were handled by the port.

Situated on the northwest shore of Lake Superior in Canada’s Ontario province, the Port of Thunder Bay serves as a favorable waypoint between international markets and the deep Canadian hinterland. In one of the longest supply chains in the world, Canadian Prairies grain producers are connected with European buyers via Thunder Bay. Deposits of grain are loaded onto bulk vessels which leave the port, navigate the inland St. Lawrence Seaway system, and ultimately arrive at overseas destinations, like Belgium’s Port of Antwerp or the Netherlands’ Port of Rotterdam.

Canada allocates $6.7 million to fund port projects

Unsurprisingly, the Canadian government recognizes Thunder Bay’s glowing contribution to the country’s international trade. Akin to the imaginations of stakeholders and port officials, Canada envisions the Great Lakes port as a strategic intermodal hub with untapped potential.

In a Mar. 15 news release, Canada’s transport ministry announced that is earmarking $6.7 million (CAD) on two projects aimed to improve and increase capacity at the Port of Thunder Bay.

“We’re investing in the Port of Thunder Bay to redevelop the marshalling yard and increase cargo handling capabilities, to boost Canada’s competitiveness. Canadian businesses will benefit from better access to international markets,” read a quote by Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez.

The investment will upgrade cargo handling capabilities at the port, notably including its Keefer Terminal facility. According to the release, up to $3 million will be allocated to redevelop the current rail yard at the terminal, adding new heavyweight rail tracks and switches.

The remaining $3.7 million will be committed to an overall effort to enhance Thunder Bay’s greater capacity. This includes upgrading Keefer Terminal’s wharf (dockside), expanding the terminal’s cargo laydown area, and improving rail crossings between the terminal and rail yard. The release also outlined support to develop electrical infrastructure for a new laydown area.

These projects underscore a broader goal of growing western Canada’s economy. While grain is the bread winner, so to speak, other crucial industries benefit from the investment boost, including potash, steel, and fertilizers.

The $6.7 million investment comes from the Canadian government’s National Trade Corridors Fund. The program awards funding to support multimodal infrastructure projects across the country. The general purpose of the program can be likened to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s INFRA Grant Program.

Final Thoughts

The awarded funding is surely a major win, but the Port of Thunder Bay is not deficient in serving the grain business. The port already has the largest grain storage capacity in North America, as well as an impressive repertoire of grain-friendly facilities, including eight grain elevators and three dry bulk terminals.

Contact one of our team members if you have any questions regarding this topic or any others in domestic logistics.

More blogs similar to this:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on google