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Port of Thunder Bay Adds $369 million to Ontario Economy: Study


IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 Contact: Julia Fields


Thunder Bay, Ontario — Cargo shipments to and from the Port of Thunder Bay generate $369 million of economic activity and 1,800 jobs in Ontario, according to a new study released today.

The numbers were unveiled at a port reception in Thunder Bay featuring keynote speakers Ray Johnston, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, John Heimbecker, vice-president of Canadian agri-business Parrish & Heimbecker, and Tim Heney, president and CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority.

The new analysis is part of wider study carried out by economic consultants Martin Associates that earlier this month showed that the entire bi-national Great Lakes- St. Lawrence Seaway System and its more than 100 ports generate $34.6 billion of economic activity and 227,000 jobs in Canada and the U.S..

The Port of Thunder Bay statistics, which include cargo carried to and from the port by Canadian, American and international ships, revealed:

  • Of the 1,808 jobs, 881 jobs are directly generated by the marine cargo and vessel activity at the marine terminals at the Port of Thunder Bay.
  • As the result of the local and regional purchases by those 881 individuals holding the direct jobs, an additional 408 induced jobs are supported in the regional economy.
  • 519 indirect jobs were supported by $60.6 million of regional purchases by businesses supplying services at the marine terminals at the Port of Thunder Bay.
  • Combining the direct, induced and indirect income impacts, the cargo handled at the Port of Thunder Bay generated $85 million in wages and salaries, and local consumption expenditures in the Great Lakes regional economy.
  • A total of $35.4 million of provincial and federal taxes were generated by cargo and vessel activity at the Port of Thunder Bay, with $7.3 million generated at the provincial level and  $28.1 million generated at the federal level.


Tim Heney, president and CEO of Thunder Bay Port Authority, said: “This study is a positive endorsement of the value of the port to the city of Thunder Bay and the wider Canadian economy. Not only does port activity generate significant direct employment but it also supports the operations of a wider network of businesses throughout the region through purchases of goods and services.”

Ray Johnston, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, added: “Beyond its local value, the Port of Thunder Bay is an integral part of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system that provides a safe, efficient and sustainable way for Canadian farmers, oil refineries, mining and construction companies to transport their goods from province to province and to overseas markets.”

In 2011, ships calling at the Port of Thunder Bay have carried Prairie wheat to Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Ontario and Quebec, canola and lentils to Mexico and Turkey, coal for use in steel mills to southern Ontario and the United States, and Saskatchewan potash to fertilize

fields in international markets.  Vessels have also brought petroleum products from Sarnia to Thunder Bay, hundreds of wind turbine components from Denmark to generate power at the Greenwich Wind Farm near Dorian and vital mill equipment from Spain for gold production in Timmins.

Heney added that the Port of Thunder Bay has further potential to grow in the future.

“Analysts are predicting an increase in demand for grain in the Middle East and North Africa, which could lead to more exports through the Port of Thunder Bay and the Great Lakes-Seaway navigation system.  We have also been working hard to diversify our cargo mix and we have seen significant increases in shipments of project cargo like wind turbines and oversized machinery.  The Port’s new $3 million onshore crane, which will be operational next spring, will be the largest of its kind on the Upper Great Lakes and bring further business opportunities.”



About the Study

The overall study, which uses 2010 data, was carried out by respected economic consultants Martin Associates of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and peer reviewed in Canada by Dr. John Lawson, Research Associate of the University of British Columbia Centre for Transport Studies. The peer review process in Canada was overseen by Transport Canada. The full executive summary and study is available at



Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the positive economic and environmental benefits, safety, energy efficiency, and sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes-Seaway System. The Marine Delivers initiative is administered by the American Great Lakes Ports Association in the United States, and the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Canada. For more information, visit the Marine Delivers website at

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 447 5401