Thunder Bay upgrades funded

The federal government will spend $7.5 million on port infrastructure upgrades at Thunder Bay, Ont.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau made the announcement July 3 in Thunder Bay, along with Labour Minister Patty Hajdu.

The project will include the installation of additional rail track and the development of new areas for storing and trans-loading cargo.

It will also include construction of a heated cargo storage facility to meet the demands of terminal users.

Funding will be provided through the National Trade Corridors Fund, a federal program aimed at spurring infrastructure investments and supporting economic activity in Canada.

A total of $2 billion will be allocated through the fund over the next 11 years, including up to $400 million for transportation infrastructure in the North.

“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors,” Garneau said.

“We are supporting projects that will efficiently move commercial goods to market and people to their destinations, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs and ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”

Added Hajdu, the Liberal MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North: “Transportation and distribution of goods are a vital part of our local, regional and national economies.… The investment … will make our transportation system stronger by addressing urgent capacity constraints at the Port of Thunder Bay and fostering long-term prosperity for our community.”

Tim Heney, chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, said Ottawa’s investment will cover half the costs of a $15 million multi-stage project that has been underway for several years.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. will contribute another $1 million and the remainder — approximately $6.5 million — will come from the port authority.

Heney said expanded storage at the port will facilitate growth in Thunder Bay’s structural steel imports.

“We’ve become quite successful in rail and steel imports from Europe headed to Western Canada,” Heney told reporters in Thunder Bay.

“The numbers are growing. Our warehouses are currently at capacity, so building more capacity for shipments is really what it is going to do for us.”

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