The environment has been a priority for the Port of Montreal for quite some time now. In 1993, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) became one of the first ports to incorporate environmental clauses into its leases. In 2001, it adopted an environmental policy focusing on the protection of natural habitats, the fight against climate change, and nuisance prevention, such as industrial noise. In 2003, it became one of the first North American organizations to adopt an ISO 140001 compliant environmental management system. And in 2005, it played a key role in meetings leading up to the creation of Green Marine, the voluntary environmental certification program for the shipping industry.
More recently, the MPA has taken several initiatives to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). More specifically, it has rolled out more than 20 shore power connection points where wintering and cruise ships can plug in dockside, a fleet of fully hybrid service vehicles, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) refuelling solution and next-generation low-GHG emitting locomotives. These initiatives and those of its partners have enabled the MPA to reduce GHG emissions specific to its own activities by 25% since 2007 and to lower the intensity of GHG emissions by 22% between 2010 and 2017 for all activities on port territory.
“Our priority is to reduce the environmental footprint of our activities through responsible consumption and by efficiently managing our environmental heritage,” said Martin Imbleau, President and CEO of the MPA. “We participate in greening campaigns, implement green infrastructure, carry out projects to protect flora and fauna, adopt working practices that respect the environment and use technologies that improve performance and reduce impacts.”
The Port of Montreal is setting course for innovative new green energy solutions. In response to the global movement to decarbonize the transportation industry, and consistent with its leadership in environmental issues, the MPA continues to evolve towards clean energy, notably green hydrogen, ethanol and methanol.
In June, the MPA signed a cooperation and development agreement with Canadian biofuel producer Greenfield Global to explore new clean energy opportunities. In the wake of the port’s dockside shore power implementation in 2017, the development of green hydrogen will make indirect shore supply of electrical power possible for the marine industry.
The agreement aims to identify, conceive and implement innovative green energy solutions. A working committee has been set up to oversee the development and implementation of these solutions for current and future MPA activities as well as those of MPA partners and the marine industry.
Also in June, the MPA announced the renewal of its financial support of the St. Lawrence Action Fund, whose mission is to support projects that contribute to the sustainability of ecosystems of the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Specifically, the MPA is renewing its annual contribution to the St. Lawrence Marine Biodiversity Program: $105,000 in funding over three years to support restoration, conservation and enhancement efforts on the St. Lawrence River, such as projects on bird habitats and integrated control of invasive alien species.
The MPA is also introducing a new grant for two St. Lawrence-related arts and awareness initiatives: Nature Sauvage magazine’s photo contest on nature in Quebec, which includes a section on the St. Lawrence River, and the Fondation Monique Fitz-Back Drawing Contest on how the St. Lawrence River has been an inspiration.
Last December, the MPA joined the Montreal Climate Partnership. Announced as part of the City of Montreal’s Climate Change Plan, the partnership mobilizes economic, philanthropic, institutional and community forces to take action on a large scale against climate change. The partnership plans to conduct practical projects to accelerate the reduction of GHGs in Montreal, with a view to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The MPA is furthering its objective to plant 2,000 trees within five years, as announced in 2018 through the Montreal Greening Leaders Committee. It planted 160 trees in 2020 on or near port facilities, bringing its total to 897 trees planted through last year.
The Port of Montreal is one of the most environmentally responsible ports in North America, according to Green Marine’s annual rankings. Green Marine supports 150 certified members in Canada and the U.S. as they strive to minimize their environmental footprint with concrete, quantifiable measures built around 14 performance indicators. In 2019 and 2020, the Port of Montreal earned the highest score possible—5 on 5—across a series of indicators, distinguishing itself in the categories of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, spill prevention, community impacts, environmental leadership and waste management.