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Grain on the move.

Early season grain shipments through the Port of Thunder Bay are already above the high-water mark for March.

The western Lake Superior port opened March 24 and already more than 260,000 tonnes of cargo, mostly grain, have been loaded aboard ships, well above the 10-year average of 117,000 tonnes.

In an April 4 news release, the Thunder Bay Port Authority said moving that much volume this soon depends on year-to-year weather and ice conditions on the Great Lakes.

The majority of the cargo that moved during the month was leftover grain stored in the port's elevators from last year's Western grain harvest.

Other cargoes that transitted through the port were an outbound load of coal and an inbound load of road salt.

The port authority anticipates steady ship traffic through April as "significant grain stocks" remain from the 2016 harvest in Thunder Bay and in storage on the Prairies.

Keefer Terminal, the port's project cargo hub, anticipates a shipload of electrical transformers in mid-April.

The Motor Vessel Manitoulin was the first vessel into the port in March to kick off the 2017 navigation season.

Owned and operated by Lower Lakes Towing, the Manitoulin's arrival marked the earliest season opening for the western Lake Superior port since 2008.

The Thunder Bay Port Authority, City of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce held its annual Opening of Navigation "Top Hat" Ceremony at Richardson's main grain elevator where the ship loaded grain for Buffalo, N.Y.

The traditional top hat is bestowed to the captain of the first ship into port.

Captain John Carlson and Chief Engineer Dmitrii Pustoshkin received the honours this spring.

Caption: Lower Lakes Towing's Manitoulin was the first ship into the Port of Thunder Bay to start the 2017 navigation season.

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Title Annotation:Briefs
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:May 1, 2017
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