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The Port of Goderich welcomes its first cargo to the new dock #8 and wharf.

Posted on Tuesday September 29, 2020
First Ship at Wharf
The MV Saginaw unloading the first cargo at the newly created dock#8 in Goderich Ontario

Goderich, ON, August 31, 2020 -  The Port of Goderich welcomed its first cargo to the newly created dock #8 and adjacent 4 acres of wharf on August 28, 2020. The Port was divested from the Federal ports system in 1999 and is owned by the Town of Goderich, operated by Goderich Port Management Corp. (GPMC). The first cargo to arrive came aboard the MV Saginaw a self-discharging bulk carrier owned by the Lower Lakes Towing Ltd, a Rand Logistics company. The 16,500 tons of aggregate was loaded at Bruce Mines in northern Lake Huron and is destined for highway construction purposes in this area. The customer was fittingly Miller – Lavis who was also the prime contractor on the building of the project.

“Lavis Contracting Co. Limited was very proud and excited not only in the construction of the new dock but being the first user of the dock.” said Bentley Ehgoetz, Divisional  Manager of Lavis Contracting Co Limited “The use of the dock to bring in premium aggregate by ship, instead of by road, is another tool for our company to use in competing in a very competitive market.”

The expansion project began life almost 12 years ago and gained momentum when, in 2011, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) of the Province of Ontario, committed to funding support needed to complete a number of port improvements and create a new dock and wharf to the north of the existing harbour. The entire project has been completed with the use of Port funds and MTO support, with no cost to the local tax base. “This represents a new era for this port that has so long been constrained by the lack of available space,” said Rowland Howe, President of GPMC, “Despite being one of the busiest Great Lakes ports, the footprint of the existing users and the proximity of the tourist areas left little space to welcome new cargos.”

“The expansion project for the port of Goderich is an incredible success,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. “The province has invested more than $15.7 million into this much needed upgrade and it is money well spent as it will bring increase business and commerce to the area for decades to come. Having taken people down to the harbour and seeing first hand the lakers using the new slip certainly demonstrates the value of the investment.”

The project, once defined, went through the provincial planning process for an individual Environmental Assessment (EA). Several local stakeholders and indigenous groups were consulted during that process. Final approvals were granted in 2017, and in-water construction commenced. During the EA process, several new fish habitat projects were supported to offset the loss of habitat due to the construction. These projects ranged from the rehabilitation of wetlands on Walpole Island to a study of fish feeding habits before and after construction. Construction involved the installation of a steel frame to support the dock and infilling 4 acres behind to create a wharf to land cargo area.

While it is expected that many cargos will arrive and leave on bulk self-unloading vessels, the dock has been constructed to allow heavy cargos to be handled as well. The wharf has no structures built on it, allowing maximum flexibility. The dock has seaway depth draft allowing the largest vessels navigating the Great Lakes and St Lawrence seaway system to berth at it. “We can now fully participate in the growing trend to marine transportation, it is safe, environmentally friendly and an economic route to markets both around the Great Lakes region and overseas,” said John Grace, Mayor of the Town of Goderich. “This creates a true marine gateway to southwestern Ontario, strategically positioned to play an increasing role in a world of changing markets and international trade.”

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, increasingly referred to as the “H2O Highway”, is a 3,700 Km marine highway that runs between Canada and the United States. Comprised of the St. Lawrence River, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Great Lakes, it flows directly into the commercial, industrial, and agricultural heartland of North America, home to some 100 million people. For more information about the port expansion please visit

Watch the video of the MV Saginaw pulling in and unloadin the first cargo here:


For More Information:

Jenna Ujiye

Tourism and Community Development Officer

The Town of Goderich

519-524-8344 ext 209


Rowland Howe
Office: 519 524 4247 

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Goderich Town Hall: 57 West Street, Goderich, ON N7A 2K5, Phone: 519-524-8344, Email:
Tourism Goderich: Phone: 519-524-6600, Toll-Free: 1-800-280-7637, Email:

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