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Prairie exports power busy month

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The Port of Thunder Bay is reporting above-average cargo tonnage as of October 31.  Port terminals have handled 6.9 million metric tonnes of cargo so far this season.  This figure is 10% higher than last year and 5% higher than the 5-year average.

The month of October was notable for strong coal and potash movement.  Both commodities are mined on the Prairies and shipped in bulk from Thunder Bay to other Great Lakes / Seaway ports as well as international ports.  Coal and potash shipments for the month of October were twice- and three-times the normal levels, respectively.

Grain volumes held steady in October, maintaining a seasonal increase over last year mostly due to higher canola shipments to international ports.  At just under half a million metric tonnes, direct exports of canola from Thunder Bay by foreign-flagged saltie vessels are at an all-time high.  The bulk of the canola exported from Thunder Bay is grown in Manitoba.

The first week of November has remained busy, particularly for salties departing the Port with grain. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has been projecting a strong fall harvest, however there is some uncertainty for the final two months of the shipping season as poor weather has led to harvesting delays and some crop downgrading on the Prairies.