Inside Logistics

Port of Montreal hits records again in 2019

Predicts 12 percent decline in freight traffic for 2020


June 16, 2020
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MONTREAL –The Port of Montreal had a sixth consecutive record year in 2019. Total volume of goods reached 40.6 million tonnes, up 4.3 percent from 2018.

President and CEO Sylvie Vachon, accompanied by the chair of the Board of Directors, presented the operating results for 2019 during a virtual annual meeting on June 15.

The container sector also set a new record with 15.1 million tonnes of containerized cargo and 1.75 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Market diversification continued: 27 percent of containerized trade was with Asia (an eight percent increase), five percent with South America and four percent with Africa and Oceania.

At 57 percent, Europe remained the main market. At the same time, trade with the U.S. Midwest enjoyed an 11 percent upswing.

The dry bulk sector posted a strong increase of 17 percent over last year with a total of 9.2 million tonnes, mainly due to the resumption of operations at the grain terminal following a labour stoppage in 2018.

The liquid bulk sector remained stable compared to last year with 16.2 million tonnes handled. The non-containerized cargo sector dropped 33.5 percent, to 123,000 tonnes of cargo, mainly due to the end of handling oversized parts for the new Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge.

Financial results

The MPA’s financial results improved in 2019. Operating revenues reached $130 million, a five percent increase over 2018, while expenses amounted to $99.3 million. Factoring in investment income, net earnings were $31.9 million.

The port authority is moving forward with major projects, including planning a new container terminal in Contrecœur, completing Viau Terminal, erecting the Grand Quay observation tower and developing digital solutions aimed at optimizing Greater Montreal’s logistics and supply chain.

Sustainable development

The sustainable development report showed a continuous decrease over the past seven years in the intensity of GHG emissions from MPA-specific activities per tonne of cargo handled. In all, 145 sustainable development actions were taken in 2019, including measures to protect at-risk species, planting 750 trees, installing a new electrical connection for a decommissioned vessel and the launch of an urban beekeeping project.

2020: A tougher year

“Port activities generate positive economic returns for businesses, workers and citizens. Thanks to the collective strength that unites stakeholders in the supply chain, the Port of Montreal is fulfilling its mission despite the most unpredictable challenges, such as the COVID-19 crisis, which has severely tested the social and economic balance. The Port remains committed to supporting Canadian businesses and playing a key role in the economic recovery to come,” said Vachon.

After a solid first quarter, the MPA has been experiencing signs of a slowdown on its docks since April. For the year 2020, the MPA projects a 12 percent drop in freight traffic compared to last year. This decline should be followed by a recovery at the end of the year and into early 2021.