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Thunder Bay Mayor Ken Boshcoff, Port of Thunder Bay CEO Chris Heikkinen, Thunder Bay - Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski and Port Board of Directors Chair Pat Bushby (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

$6.7M in federal dollars for Keefer Terminal

By Adam Riley Mar 15, 2024 | 3:40 PM

Improving the resiliency of Canada’s supply chains, that is the reason behind $6.7 million in funding from the Government of Canada for two projects at Keefer Terminal.

Thunder Bay – Rainy River PM Marcus Powlowski made the announcement Friday morning on behalf of Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez and says, as one of Canada’s most inland ports Thunder Bay plays a pivotal role in keeping supply chain links in Canada connected, which he adds took a hit during the pandemic.

“A lot of those were broken, and so I think there was renewed interest in ensuring that existing supply chains were maintained and hopefully enhanced.”

Powlowski notes with the large amount of goods which flow through the Port of Thunder Bay, specifically at Keefer Terminal, it “makes sense” to put some money into reinforcing the transportation links.

The first project will redevelop the current marshalling yard with improvements to its rail infrastructure.

Rail lines at Keefer Terminal is one of the many pieces of infrastructure which will benefit from $6.7 million dollars in funding (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

“This is a large swath of rail that is essentially isn’t meeting the demand of today’s cargos,” explains Port of Thunder Bay Chief Executive Officer Chris Heikkinen. “So we’re going to be reconstructing that rail this year.”

Up to three million dollars of the funding package is being devoted to that project.

The second component of funding is being broken up into four segments for a an expansion of the current cargo lay down area, wharf improvements, electrical grid upgrades for the new laydown area and rail crossing safety improvements between the terminal and the marshalling yard.

Design work is already under way for the first phase of the project with shovels expected in the ground this spring.

This marks the first major project under the leadership of Heikkinen, who was tapped to lead the Port of Thunder Bay in October of last year.

He says it has been an exciting experience, even though he has been involved in projects like this in the past, which included rail corridor improvements and the construction of a heated cargo warehouse.

“I’ve seen first hand how those have really paid dividends in terms of generating more business in the Port and in the city, and so its really its a privilege to carry that experience into the leadership role that I take on now.”

Port of Thunder Bay Chief Executive Officer Chris Heikkinen speaks during a $6.7 million dollar funding announcement on March 15th 2024 (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)