Transport Canada announces funding to increase capacity at the Port of Thunder Bay


Northwestern Ontario is getting a wider access to world markets, with a substantial upgrade to the Port of Thunder Bay.

Last week, Marcus Powlowski, the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Rainy River, on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, announced an investment of up to $6.7 million for two projects at the Port of Thunder Bay through the National Trade Corridors Fund.

“This commitment aims to enhance reliable trade flows with global markets, foster increased exports and optimize the efficiency of Canada’s national transportation system,” stated a release from transport Canada. “Goods by Canadian producers travel long distances to reach global markets and consumers. That’s why stronger and more resilient supply chains increase economic security for all Canadians.”

According to the annpuncement, the Government of Canada will contribute:

  • Up to $3 million to the Port of Thunder Bay to redevelop the existing marshalling yard at the Ports Keefer Terminal. Adding new heavyweight rail track and switches will increase the Port’s cargo handling capabilities and will provide opportunities to attract new markets and improve supply chain fluidity.
  • Up to $3.7 million to the Port of Thunder Bay to enhance the Port’s capacity by:
    • upgrading the wharf at Keefer Terminal;
    • expanding the terminal’s cargo laydown area;
    • developing the electrical infrastructure for the new laydown area; and
    • improving the rail crossing infrastructure between Keefer Terminal and the marshalling yard.

According to Powlowski, the investment will improve access to global markets, by increasing the port’s capacity.

“The terminal is a gateway to Canada. It handles a variety of items ranging from important components needed for tar sand and mining projects, to gigantic components for wind turbines, to fertilizer needed for farmers,” said Powlowski. “Given the importance of the terminal to our country’s economy, this funding is welcome news not just for northwestern Ontario, but also for the Prairies and our entire country.”

According to The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport, the new upgrades will “boost Canada’s competitiveness. Canadian businesses will benefit from better access to international markets, and Canadian consumers will keep being able to access affordable goods, when they need them.”

These projects will grow the northern Ontario economy by supporting various important industries including grain, potash, steel, wind turbine components, transformers, and phosphate fertilizers, noted the release.

“Port of Thunder Bay is grateful for these contributions from the National Trade Corridors Fund that support both expansion and efficiency improvements at Keefer Terminal,” said Chris Heikkinen, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Thunder Bay. “Strategically located at the furthest inland port in Canada, this premiere intermodal facility is a vital supply chain link for international imports of breakbulk, project cargo, and bulk, serving the Prairies and Northern Ontario.”

The National Trade Corridors Fund is a competitive, merit-based program designed to help infrastructure owners and users invest in the critical transportation assets that support economic activity in Canada. Over $4.1 billion in funding has been committed under the program. Through the Fund, Transport Canada is supporting improvements to Canada’s roads, rail, air, and marine shipping routes to foster domestic and international trade.