Port of Montreal sees throughput rise in 2021

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Port of Montreal saw container and dry bulk throughput increase in 2021, against stable revenues.

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) presented the port’s 2021 operating results at its annual meeting in May.

“The past year tells us one thing, and that is how necessary it is to be able to adapt, no matter what the circumstances, to disruptions, unforeseen events and factors outside the normal course of operations that can affect the supply chain,” said Martin Imbleau, president and CEO of the MPA.

“As a public service, we are doing everything we can to ensure the future of the Port of Montreal. We do this for local businesses that import and export products that are indispensable to their operations and vitality and, bottom line, we do this for the ultimate client, namely the consumer, the citizen.”

Cargo traffic

Freight volumes were impacted by the events of the year in several ways.

The container sector, driven by changing consumer habits in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the surge in orders for consumer products, posted a 7.5 percent increase in TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), with 1.7 million containers handled.

The dry bulk sector declined 6.2 percent to 7.9 million tonnes due to droughts in Western Canada that affected grain volumes. Conversely, there was strong growth in the volumes of minerals and fertilizers for the agri-food sector.

The liquid bulk sector posted a 5.2 percent decrease to 11.7 million tonnes, mainly due to the impact of the pandemic on fuel volumes for personal vehicles and air traffic.

In all, 34 million tonnes of cargo were handled at the Port of Montreal, down three percent from last year.

The entire 2021 cruise season was cancelled for a second consecutive year in accordance with Transport Canada guidelines.

Financial results and infrastructure projects

Revenue from operations remained stable. It was $117.7 million in 2021, compared to $116.6 million in 2020.

Expenses came to $104 million.

Capital investments for 2021 totaled $111 million. It is also noteworthy that the MPA completed the issuance of $150 million of unsecured debentures bearing interest at 3.24 percent with principal due at maturity on March 22, 2051.

Factoring in investment income, net income was $19.7 million.

Several major infrastructure projects achieved key milestones over the course of 2021. The Contrecœur expansion project  received a favourable decision from the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Canada. The rail capacity expansion project, saw the first phase completed. The redevelopment of Bickerdike Terminal was completed after two years. The Viau sector overpass was launched.

These projects aim to further improve the long-term performance and efficiency of the Port of Montreal’s supply chain and facilities, as well as the quality of its services with a focus on sustainability and social responsibility.