Port of Montreal hails new Quebec Maritime Strategy

The following is the text of a news release from the Montreal Port Authority:

(MONTREAL) — The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) welcomes the Quebec government's announcement introducing the first-ever Quebec Maritime Strategy. The announcement was made June 29 at the Iberville cruise terminal, where the Port of Montreal welcomes every year tens of thousands of cruise passengers.

The MPA is thrilled by the government's commitment to support the marine industry with more than $1.5 billion in investments, along with its commitment to sustainably develop the marine economy.

"On behalf of the MPA, I enthusiastically welcome this first ever Quebec Maritime Strategy, that I believe marks a turning point for our industry," stated Sylvie Vachon, president and CEO of the MPA. "This strategy will strengthen the collaborative efforts already underway between marine industry and supply chain players to develop concrete projects that generate economic benefits through the best environmental and social practices."

Since the Quebec government expressed its intention to adopt a comprehensive maritime strategy, industry stakeholders, including the MPA, were consulted to help build the strategy. At the core of its brief, the MPA argued that the maritime strategy must ultimately stimulate traffic growth, an objective that the MPA has adopted in its own strategic plan.

"I am convinced that the interest and attentiveness shown by the Quebec government in the marine industry, combined with the know-how of industry members and the opportunities available to us, will lead to noticeable positive results not only for the growth of marine traffic but also for the economic development of the province as a whole," added Vachon.

A strategy with several promising components

During the announcement, the Quebec government unveiled the central components that form the core of the maritime strategy. Some of them directly concern the Port of Montreal, which is a unique and major economic engine not only for Greater Montreal but all of Quebec.

First, the government proposes to significantly improve road access to facilitate cargo movement. At the Port of Montreal, this component is central if we want to maintain the growth of freight traffic. The government of Quebec's commitment to invest $75 million in a major project to improve road access to the Port of Montreal is applauded by the port and all its partners. The maritime strategy also includes an action plan to improve marine infrastructure and create a new program to support intermodal port infrastructure projects that meet industry needs.

The matter of transportation logistics hubs is also central to the maritime strategy. The Quebec government has chosen to support the implementation of value-added distribution centers in various regions, including Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Contrecoeur. As a matter of fact, the Port of Montreal is planning its future expansion on his Contrecoeur property. The government also intends to support CargoM, which promotes the multi-site logistics hub model. This is also the MPA's position. This approach will make it possible to strengthen developments that have been completed or are underway, to optimize each site's vocation and to seize various business opportunities, while providing flexibility and alternatives for Quebec importers and exporters.

We also support the Quebec government's intention to back private investment projects in industrial port areas. The proximity of efficient port and intermodal infrastructures provides a major competitive advantage for any import or export company.

The MPA again thanks the government of Quebec for its $20 million financial support toward the restoration of Iberville Passenger Terminal and Alexandra Pier, a project clearly set forth in the maritime strategy.

By internationally promoting Quebec's commercial ports, the maritime strategy will spread awareness of all the benefits related to shipping on the St. Lawrence River. This will also strengthen the Port of Montreal's positioning abroad. Connected to 140 countries around the world, the port is a leading platform between Europe and the markets of Quebec, Ontario and the U.S. Midwest. In addition, through the phenomenon of trans-shipment, the Port of Montreal is now connected to regions such as Asia, which in 2014 represented about 15 percent of our total traffic. The Port of Montreal already has its own network of representatives in Europe, the United States and Asia. That is why we welcome this willingness to support market development initiatives; it will certainly extend the reach of the Port of Montreal and Quebec's marine and port industry across the board internationally.

Lastly, we must point out how much importance the strategy places on developing a skilled work force, on marine research and innovation, on fostering harmonious cohabitation between economic activities and neighbouring communities, and on protecting marine territory and its ecosystems; issues that the MPA already fully endorses.

About the Port of Montreal

Operated by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montreal is a major diversified transshipment centre that handles all types of goods — containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk. It is a leading container port served by the largest container shipping lines in the world.

The Port of Montreal handled 1,402,393 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2014, representing 12,575,069 tonnes of cargo. The port also handled 9,246,741 tonnes of liquid bulk, and 8,433,434 tonnes of dry bulk, including 4,075,879 tonnes of grain. The total volume of goods handled in 2014 amounted to 30,445,984 million tonnes.

The Port of Montreal has its own railway network directly dockside. It is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system. The port operates a passenger terminal that welcomed 71,044 passengers and crew members in 2014. All other terminals are run by private stevedoring firms.

Port activity supports 16,000 jobs and generates $2.1 billion in economic spinoffs annually.

By Professional Mariner Staff