Report on ACPA Conference held in Thunder Bay

By William Hryb

From September 6 to 9, Port of Thunder Bay showcased its natural harbour and vital maritime link discovered by explorers such as Radisson & Groseilliers some three and a half centuries ago. On the occasion of the 58th annual ACPA Conference (Association of Canadian Port Authorities), the Port illustrated in exemplary fashion that its facilities represent a truly superior gateway and vital lifeline to Eastern markets for Western Canada and beyond.

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Christening of CWB Marquis

By William Hryb

There was palpable excitement in the air as Thunder Bay port officials and guests gathered at Mission Terminal Limited to witness the christening of MV CWB Marquis on Wednesday July 22, 2015. The lake vessel is named after the historic “Marquis” wheat variety, the first wheat variety bred specifically for the short Canadian growing season, whose consistent quality and yield set the stage for Canada to become a prominent wheat exporter. Dayna Spiring, CWB’s Chief Strategy Officer declared, “I dedicate this ship, the motor vessel CWB Marquis. May God guard her, and guide her, and keep all those who sail in her.” With those poetic words CWB colours were lowered and a bottle of champagne came crashing on the ship’s bow. The mammoth 39,400 metric tonne vessel, built in Nantong, China, was launched on July 8, 2014 and arrived at Montreal on Jan. 8, 2015 after a 15,800 nautical mile voyage. The ship is managed by Algoma Central Corporation on behalf of CWB, and will carry a wide variety of grain cargoes, mainly from Thunder Bay to St. Lawrence ports where cargoes will be transshipped for export around the world. The pride of the fleet is the third new Equinox Class bulk carrier.

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Thunder Bay Terminal operations

By William Hryb

Thunder Bay’s strategic location has made the region a natural meeting and trading site as far back as the Paleo-Indian civilization 11,000 years ago. The first Europeans arrived in the 17th century establishing a series of fur trading posts, and in 1803 the North West Company founded Fort William. Later in the century, Prince Arthur’s Landing (Port Arthur) was established, just a few miles from Fort William, sparking a rivalry that would last until 1970 when the two cities were amalgamated into Thunder Bay. The region developed into a vital transportation center for shipping enormous quantities of grain, potash and coal. Recently, project cargoes destined for Western Canada have added to Thunder Bay’s high profile.

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Shipping season opens with optimism at Thunder Bay

By William Hryb

If there ever was a shipping season that cast a net of optimism, it is this one. A palpable enthusiasm not seen for many years has bolstered port spirits, providing those who make a living on Thunder Bay’s waterfront with a refreshing boost. Anticipating a relatively early start to the shipping season, the government icebreaker Samuel Risley arrived in mid-March encountering 24 to 32 inches of ice in the inner harbour. When the Sault Ste. Marie locks opened for traffic on March 25, the race to be the first ship to Thunder Bay was on. Three ships were in the race – the MV John B. Aird and hot on her stern were the MV Algoma Montrealis and MV Ojibway.

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Wagenborg – The new Thunder Bay connection

By William Hryb

For the port of Thunder Bay, a familiar sight on the waterfront is the infamous Sleeping Giant. The magnificent rock formation was voted one of the Seven Wonders of Canada in a national competition several years ago. Over the past several seasons another recognizable sight is the name Wagenborg emblazoned on ships’ hulls that are increasingly frequenting the Lake Superior port. With the changing dynamics in the shipping industry, niche carriers like Royal Wagenborg B.V. have managed to stay in the forefront of a rapidly changing industry.

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Thunder Bay tug company highlighted on History Channel

By William Hryb

There is a good reason why tugboat captains on the Great Lakes are called warriors. North America’s busiest waterways are the battlefields for hardened seafarers who have chosen a way of life not many people know about. There is no question that tugboat captains and operators are the unsung heroes of the marine transportation industry.  The important role that tugboats, their captains and crew play is crucial to a robust shipping industry where billions of dollars of cargo move through the Great Lakes system. Continue reading

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