Hundreds head to Port of Johnstown open house

A ceremony for the first annual Port Day Open House at the Port of Johnstown in Johnstown, Ont was held Saturday, June 4, 2016. Speaking at the event were Gino Becerra, La Coop federee; Scott Krakar, London Agricultural Commodities Inc.; MPP Steve Clark; Tom Lynch, Ingredion Canada Corporation; Joanne van Moorsel, GreenField Specialty Alcohols Inc.; Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Mayor Pat Sayeau; HMCS Captain Christopher Hines; Stephen Brooks, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce; Robert Dalley, General Manager of Port of Johnstown. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

JOHNSTOWN – With roughly 500 people visiting the Port of Johnstown on a sunny Saturday, by all accounts, the Port Day Open House turned out to be a success.

The theme for the first annual event was highlighting the connection to the farming community and it was also a chance to show off the newly completed harbour dock and public walkway at the plant on County Road 2, west of the

“I congratulate all those who have the bold vision and the drive to continue to carry this business forward,” MPP Steve Clark said, on behalf of MP Gord Brown, during an official ceremony Saturday morning (June 4, 2016).

“It’s not just an issue of working together but we also have to, now that this facility is here, we have to capitalize on the economic development opportunity that this facility represents. There is great news that cargo shipments have doubled to the same point in 2015,” Clark said.

As of May 31, 2016, 200,000 metric tons has moved through the port – a 100 per cent increase over the same period in 2015 – mostly due to salt shipments. Coincidentally, the ship Robert S. Pierson was dropping off a load of salt during the Port Day.

In describing a friendly archery competition with Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Mayor Pat Sayeau, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce Stephen Brooks said “maybe the biggest bullseye that our good mayor has ever hit has been in his tireless efforts over a lot of years…in realizing the amazing redevelopment of this wonderful port.”

The port, which is 85 years old this year, went through a $35 million upgrade in 2015. It typically moves about 1.2 million metric tons of cargo a year by ship, rail and truck to and from an area from Peterborough-Port Hope to Pembroke and the Pontiac region of Quebec.

“We are especially proud because it’s so great to witness first-hand how marine shipping can be such a powerful economic force,” Brooks said, considering there are many struggling ports on both sides of the St. Lawrence River needing infrastructure upgrades.

“There are a lot more ports big and small whose communities, quite frankly, would rather see condos and Kwik-E-Marts, rather that ships, docks and terminals on water’s edge,” he said. “What you have here is a really good thing.”

Also speaking at the ceremony emceed by Mayor Pat Sayeau were representatives from GreenField Specialty Alcohols Inc., Ingredion Canada Corporation La Coop Federee and London Agricultural Commodities Inc.

People at the open house got to tour the Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon, take tours of the port property, take in archery competitions with the Grenville Fish and Game Club and see some of the equipment used at the terminal. Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary also had a display of animals on site.

Click on a image below to open a gallery of photos from the event, including a tour of the grain elevator.