The following is the text of a news release from the Montreal Port Authority:
(MONTREAL) — Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO Sylvie Vachon officially inaugurated the start of a new year of activity at the Port of Montreal today by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to Capt. Anuj Kararia of India, master of the Valencia Express, the first oceangoing vessel to enter the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2015. The Valencia Express left the Port of Lisbon in Portugal, on Dec. 22. It crossed the Port of Montreal's limits on Jan. 1 at 0006 hours. Her arrival underlines the fact that the Port of Montreal is open year-round to all oceangoing vessels.
The event also allowed the MPA to recognize the work of Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central pilots Alain Aubé and Alain Lecuyer, who brought the vessel safely into port.
The 176th Gold-Headed Cane presentation ceremony brought together numerous representatives of the maritime industry and Montreal's business and cultural communities as well as political figures including Quebec Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy Jean D'Amour, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
"The presence here today of a captain of Indian nationality who came from as far away as Portugal demonstrates the importance of the Port of Montreal as the engine of Greater Montreal's transportation logistics chain, which is also at the heart of major global logistics chains," Vachon said.
Registered in the Bermuda, the Valencia Express is 216 meters long. Hapag-Lloyd operates the containership, which entered service in 1996.
The Valencia Express is docked at Berth 59. The terminal is operated by Montreal Gateway Terminals Partnership.
A very good year for the Port of Montreal
According to preliminary statistics, the Port of Montreal handled more than 30 million tonnes of cargo in 2014. This unaudited figure is higher than our traffic results of the previous year: It corresponds to an increase of nearly 7 percent in freight traffic. It also represents a historical record for the Port of Montreal. In the still fragile economic context in which we find ourselves, these are very satisfactory results.
More good news: The cruise industry is in great shape and following through on its growth momentum that began a few years ago. In 2014, more than 70,000 passengers and crewmembers sailed to Montreal, up 2 percent over the last year.
About the Port of Montreal
Operated by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montreal is a major diversified transshipment center 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 has its own rail network directly dockside. It is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system. The port operates a passenger terminal. All other terminals are run by private stevedoring firms.
Port activity supports 18,200 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic spinoffs annually.