Port infrastructure investments driving cargo trends

HOPA welcomed 11 million tonnes of cargo in 2023 through expanding port network

  • In 2023, a total of 11,293,179 MT moved through the Ports of Hamilton and Oshawa
  • Steel commodities increased by 13% over 2022
  • Agri-food grew by 5%; now representing 31% of total cargo
  • HOPA named 2023 Bulk Port of the Year

HAMILTON, ON – HOPA Ports has released results for the 2023 navigation season, reporting a combined total cargo of 11,293,179 metric tonnes (MT) through the ports of Hamilton and Oshawa. The 2023 total was a 9% increase from 2022, marking the second-highest volume in the past decade. The season saw a total of 665 vessels, with 603 in Hamilton and 62 in Oshawa, taking advantage of the longest ever Seaway shipping season.

Commodities transiting the Ports of Hamilton and Oshawa represent approximately 30% of total cargoes transiting the Canada-US Great-Lakes Seaway system. HOPA’s cargo totals rose by 9% in 2023 versus a 3.38% increase in system cargo as a whole.

“Commodities fluctuate year-to-year driven by market and other external forces that are often beyond our control; that’s why we are focused on future trends. Our investments in trade-enabling infrastructure, and those of our tenants and partners are the engines of longer-term performance,” said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO of HOPA Ports.

Over the past 15 years, HOPA and partners have invested close to $1 billion in transportation infrastructure and terminals that have enabled the steady growth of key commodities. This trend continues with the recent announcements of a $135 million sugar refinery, a new rail container facility, a new flour mill, and HOPA capital works for 2024 exceeding $40 million.  


In 2023, agri-food commodities through the Ports of Hamilton and Oshawa reached a combined total of 3.5 million MT, an increase of 5% over 2023. Agri-food represented 31% of total HOPA cargo in 2023, compared to an agri-food total of 18% in 2013, and just 10% in 2009. This growth has been driven by major investments in agricultural-related terminal infrastructure. Over the past 15 years, the port has attracted $500 million in new investments by agri-food companies, including grain handling terminals, fertilizer terminals, and Ontario’s leading mid-size brewery. HOPA kicked off 2024 by announcing even more agri-food investment, in the form of a new flour mill, to be constructed by Parrish & Heimbecker, and a new sugar refinery, to be constructed by SucroCan.   

“Food processing is a $4.8 billion sector in Ontario, and we’re delighted to be providing the key ingredients to grow this sector further, in the form of the location and logistics solutions that food manufacturers need,” said Hamilton.

At the Port of Oshawa, plans for a new grain export terminal are now underway. “We hope to have shovels in the ground in the coming months to enhance export capacity for grain grown in Durham, Kawartha and other GTA-east grain producing regions. The new export terminal is expected to be ready for the fall 2024 harvest,” said Hamilton.


Steel and steel-making commodities had a stellar year in 2023, exceeding 6.2 million MT, a 13% increase compared to the previous year.

HOPA continues to invest in capacity for the value-added steel-related manufacturing supply chain. In 2023, construction of a $10 million, 60,000 sq ft rail transload facility for steel products proceeded on-track. This facility, to be operated by NSD Warehouse & Distribution and supported in part by the National Trade Corridors Fund, will make new connections between transportation modes and add more than 100,000MT of new steel handling capacity at the Port of Hamilton.

Cement, asphalt and aggregates led the cargo mix at the Port of Oshawa in 2023. “These commodities are critical to infrastructure, housing and manufacturing – everything we need to keep our regional economy humming,” said Hamilton. “It is our job to make sure we have the supply chains in place to move these essential goods reliably and efficiently.”


HOPA continued to advance its Niagara Ports strategy, which now encompasses more than 600 acres of industrial space in Niagara. In 2023, three new parcels of land were transferred by Transport Canada to HOPA management: two at the Thorold Multimodal Hub and one in Port Colborne, creating more opportunities for businesses to locate and grow as part of HOPA’s Great Lakes port network. The Thorold Multimodal Hub welcomed its 20th tenant in 2023, and the Hub was awarded a Canadian Urban Institute ‘Brownie’ Brownfield Redevelopment Award for its innovative approach to repurposing a legacy industrial site for modern uses. 

HOPA was also thrilled to be recognized in 2023 as Bulk Port of the Year by the industry-definitive International Bulk Journal.  “Our ports are essential trade gateways to Canada’s largest and most dynamic economic region,” said Ian Hamilton. “Through expanded industrial lands and a comprehensive range of multimodal services, we contribute to economic prosperity and a resilient, future-ready supply chain.”


2023 Tonnage – Hamilton & Oshawa
(metric tonnes)

Steel products




Grain (including soybeans)




Gen Cargo + Containers










Liquid & Petroleum products








About Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority

As an integrated port network, the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) offers port and marine assets in Hamilton, Oshawa and Niagara, to support Ontario industries and facilitate trade. By investing in high-quality infrastructure and prioritizing sustainability, HOPA helps build prosperous working waterfronts in Ontario communities. Overseeing more than 1,400 acres and more than 180 tenant companies, 40,000 Ontario jobs are connected to the cargo that passes through HOPA’s integrated ports.


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Renee Bulger, CPA, CGA

Vice President, Finance

Renee assumed the role of Vice President, Finance after having served as Director of Finance since 2023.

Renee joined the Hamilton Port Authority in 2006 as a General Accountant and was promoted to Controller in 2018. She was previously a member of the Board of Directors for the Hamilton Conservation Foundation from 2017 to 2020.

Renee received her Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Larissa Fenn

Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Larissa Fenn is Vice President, Corporate Affairs at HOPA Ports, leading a team responsible for communications and government relations, sustainability reporting, corporate governance and corporate culture.

Previous positions included communications and public policy roles at the Canadian Bankers Association, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, and the Regional Municipality of Halton.

Larissa holds a B.A.(Hons) in Political Science from Queen’s University. She holds the APR designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society, and completed the Senior Public Sector Leaders program at the University of Western Ontario, Ivey School of Business. Larissa has served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and as a member of the Policy Council of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Fitzgerald

Vice President, Strategic Development

Bill assumed the role of Vice President, Strategic Development in 2024, after having served as HOPA’s Vice President, Operations since 2008.

Bill joined the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority in July 1995 as Project Engineer. He previously worked with the Regional Municipality of Ottawa’s Transportation Department, as well as for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Waterloo.

Bill received a Bachelor of Applied Science, civil engineering / water resources, in 1995 from the University of Waterloo and registered with the Professional Engineers of Ontario in 1997.

Jeremy Dunn

Vice President, Operations

Jeremy assumed the role of Vice President, Operations in 2024 after having served as HOPA’s Commercial Vice President since 2019. Prior to joining HOPA, Jeremy served in successive leadership roles at The Miller Group, one of Canada’s leading transportation construction and infrastructure maintenance companies. Jeremy has managed multiple business groups in the heavy construction, asphalt paving and aggregates sectors driving results through business restructuring, service improvement and strategic growth. In his most recent role, Jeremy served as General Manager of Miller Maintenance, responsible for managing and growing Miller’s highway maintenance business in Ontario.

Previous to The Miller Group, Jeremy held the position of Director of Operations for the Dunn Group of Companies.

Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) through Queen’s University. He also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management.

Janet Knight

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer for the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority since 2008, Janet joined the HPA in 1998 as Accounting Supervisor and subsequently served as Controller.

Prior to joining the HPA, Janet held the position of Financial Analyst with St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as various positions, including Marketing Communications/Research Lead with Zeneca Agro. Janet graduated from McMaster University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Commerce. She attained the professional designation of Certified Management Accountant in 1992.

Ian Hamilton

President & CEO

Ian Hamilton is President & CEO of HOPA Ports (Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority). He assumed this role in 2017, after serving as the Port Authority’s Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate since 2008. Ian has been instrumental in developing working waterfronts in Hamilton, Oshawa, and Niagara by attracting new business and private investment, and creating an integrated marine network across Southern Ontario.

Ian possesses more than 25 years of experience in international transportation and logistics in Europe and North America, and has held progressively senior positions in the liner shipping industry, including Transatlantic Trade Director (Europe) for CP Ships and Business Development Manager for Hapag-Lloyd. Ian is Chairperson of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities, and holds positions on various other boards, including: the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the Hamilton Club, and Brigs Youth Sail Training.

Ian holds an MBA from Aston University (UK) and a BSc in business administration and economics from the College of Charleston, South Carolina.