EDMONTON — Grain shipments through Thunder Bay continued to move at a steady pace in December, capping what has been a strong year for grain movement on the Great Lakes.
Total grain volumes in December surpassed one million tonnes, according to information provided by the port.
That’s Thunder Bay’s busiest month of grain shipments since May 1999.
A year-end rush of foreign vessels contributed to strong December numbers, according to the port’s December newsletter.
The port saw 10 or more foreign vessel calls in a single month for the third time in four months.
Mark Hemmes, president of Quorum Corp., the federally appointed grain transportation monitor, said grain car unloads at Thunder Bay stood at 37,145 through the first 23 weeks of the 2012-13 crop year, an increase of more than 30 percent over the previous four years.
Grain volumes stood at more than 3.7 million tonnes, up nearly eight percent from the previous four-year average.
Cargo volumes at Thunder Bay have been on a steady decline since the early 1980s.
The port moved nearly 17.7 million tonnes of grain and 23.6 million tonnes of cargo in 1983, according to figures posted on the port authority’s website.
By 2010, total grain shipments had slipped to 5.2 million tonnes and total cargo was less than seven million tonnes.
Thunder Bay’s shipping season ended Jan. 14.
Tim Heney, chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, recently said elimination of single desk grain marketing appears to have boosted grain volumes at the port.