Port of Toronto Moves more than 2.2 Million Metric Tonnes of Cargo in 2020

Toronto (March 16, 2021) – For the fourth consecutive year, the Port of Toronto moved more than two million metric tonnes of bulk and general cargo products, which represents another strong year in marine imports for the city. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 the Port of Toronto experienced another strong year in steel imports, received the highest cement cargo levels in 16 years, and saw the return of Short Sea Shipping—demonstrating the Port’s position as a vital part of Toronto’s economic infrastructure and movement of goods.
In 2020, 174 cargo vessels visited the Port of Toronto, offloading a range of containers, bulk, project and general cargo products. Overall, the Port moved 2,208,358 metric tonnes of cargo, bringing road salt, sugar, cement, aggregate and steel directly into the city’s core. With the Greater Toronto Area’s construction industry showing no signs of slowing down, the port recorded its highest cement cargo imports in 16 years with more than 728,600 metric tonnes delivered through the Port of Toronto last year. The Port also recorded an 11 per cent increase in sugar imports, with 638,283 metric tonnes imported from Central and South America to support Toronto’s food and beverage industry. In addition to importing 677,726 metric tonnes of salt and 92,072 metric tonnes of aggregate in 2020, the Port had another strong year for steel products such as steel coils, rebar, plates and rail from Sweden, Spain and Turkey, totalling more than 59,381 metric tonnes.
Building on its many successes in recent years, the Port saw the return of Short Sea Shipping with the movement of 375 containers from the Port of Montreal to the Port of Toronto in October 2020. Arrangements with Transport Canada are being made to ensure that the Port of Toronto can continue to support the region’s supply chain through Short Sea Shipping moving forward.
"The Port of Toronto experienced another strong year in 2020, with more than 2.2 million metric tonnes of cargo moving through the port and carrying much of the food, construction materials and other resources that the Greater Toronto Area needed to keep it moving during these challenging times," said Geoffrey Wilson, CEO, PortsToronto. "Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an increase in imports of sugar and cement last year, as well as having another strong year in steel cargo transiting through the port to Toronto's booming construction sites. In 2021 and beyond, the Port of Toronto will continue to provide Canadian and international businesses with a convenient, cost-effective and environmentally-responsible way of bringing goods into Canada's largest city."
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada suspended the 2020 cruise ship season. When the time is right, the Port of Toronto will be ready to once again welcome Great Lakes cruise ships to Toronto, an important contributor to Toronto’s tourism industry that brought approximately 12,000 visitors to Toronto in 2019.
Through its mixed-use facilities, the Port also plays a role in supporting Toronto’s $2 billion film industry by providing a production hub for industry players such as Cinespace and Netflix. This complementary use is facilitated in parallel with traditional port operations and has proven to be successful in ensuring the full utilization of PortsToronto property.
Further, the Port of Toronto saw the first of several bridge spans arrive from Nova Scotia via tug/barge for Waterfront Toronto’s Villiers Island project, and was critical in providing berthing for marine equipment working on the City of Toronto Ashbridge’s Bay Sewer Treatment Plant new outfall project.
In addition to its economic impact, increased imports through the Port of Toronto has a positive impact on the environment given the 2.2 million metric tonnes of cargo delivered by ship last year took approximately 54,000, 40-tonne trucks off Toronto's congested roads and highways.
About the Port of Toronto
Since 1793, the Port of Toronto has served as Toronto’s gateway to the St. Lawrence Seaway and to marine ports around the world. Serving primarily as a bulk cargo destination, the port boasts a unique location minutes from Toronto’s downtown and moves goods from countries as far away as Germany, South Korea, China, Brazil, Australia, South America and the United States. In addition to managing the movement of ships through the harbour, PortsToronto is the owner and operator of Marine Terminals 51, 52 and the Cruise Ship Terminal within the Port of Toronto.
The Port of Toronto is one of Canada's inland ports and is situated on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario. Located minutes from Toronto's downtown core, the Port provides a seamless network of cost-effective intermodal links to road, rail and air transportation, serving as a unique and crucial piece of economic infrastructure. Marine cargo arriving and managed at the Port of Toronto generated $377.7 million in economic activity and 1,566 jobs in Ontario in 2017. Port also welcomes cruise ships and passengers from around the globe through the Cruise Ship Terminal.
Take a virtual tour of the Port of Toronto to learn about the important role the Port plays in Canada's transportation network as well as the environmental benefit of marine transportation.
About PortsToronto
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
Media Contact:
Jessica Pellerin
Media Relations and Public Affairs Specialist
Cell: (647) 298-0585
E-mail: jpellerin@portstoronto.com