Container sector leads port of Montreal growth

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
Construction of the Contrecoeur container terminal is scheduled to start in 2020. (Port of Montreal photo)

MONTREAL – The container sector was among the fastest growing sectors at the Port of Montreal in 2018, up nine percent over 2017 with close to 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) transiting through all five terminals.

The port notes in its annual report that market diversification and the positive impact of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are among the key elements in this success.

Attesting to this vitality in the container sector in 2018, Maersk launched a new service connecting Montreal to Mediterranean ports, and Hamburg Süd joined the international container shipping lines serving the Port. This trend is continuing in 2019 with the arrival of COSCO Shipping Lines in Montreal.

Due to the sustained growth of the container sector, the major Contrecœur Terminal project achieved important milestones, such as public consultations related to the environmental impact assessment.

Liquid bulk rose 11.7 percent to 16.4 million tonnes while the dry bulk sector posted a 16.1 percent drop compared to 2017 with eight million tonnes of cargo handled.

This is a fifth consecutive record year with a total volume of 39 million tonnes handled, resulting in a 2.3 percent increase over the previous year.

Operating revenues reached $123.7 million, up 9.8 percent compared to 2017 while expenses came to $95.6 million. Factoring in investment income, net earnings were $28.7 million.

The Port of Montreal generates close to $2.6 billion in Canadian GDP, of which more than 90 percent is concentrated in Quebec. This represents a 23 percent increase over the last economic impact assessment conducted in 2014.

In 2018 the port inaugurated North America’s first innovation accelerator in port logistics, located at Centech, and joined the TradeLens project developed by IBM and Maersk based on blockchain technology, a secure interface used exclusively for freight transport.

The MPA also ranked first in Green Marine’s performance report and celebrated the public opening of the Grand Quay featuring new freely accessible green spaces on the waterfront.

An inventory of GHGs and air contaminants throughout port territory revealed that the intensity of GHG emissions specific to the MPA per tonne of cargo handled has been steadily decreasing over the past six years. Since the benchmark year 2007, it has dropped 45 percent, an average reduction of four percent per year.

“It is a source of pride for us to combine sustainable development with economic development, and to successfully accommodate growing volumes of goods while improving our environmental performance,” said the Port’s president and CEO, Sylvie Vachon.

The MPA’s 2018 annual report can be consulted at