In the presence of a number of North Shore economic leaders, Jean D’Amour, Quebec Minister of Transportation and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy, Pierre Boisvert, Chairman of the Alouette Metal Shipping Committee and representative of the Shareholders’ Committee, André Martel, President and CEO Aluminerie Alouette, and Pierre D. Gagnon, CEO Port of Sept-Îles, cut the ribbon to officially open the Aluminium Logistics Centre, located at the La Relance Terminal.

The new building, which includes cutting-edge automated equipment, required a total investment of close to $20 million. It is part of Phase 2 of a project aimed at boosting the capacity of the Relance Terminal. Construction of the Aluminium Logistics Centre was announced in 2010 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Now operational, the 6,400-square-meter building has a storage capacity of 15,000 tonnes of aluminium. Before being shipped to customers over the St. Lawrence River, the metal is stockpiled in the new facility, where it is handled by an automated management system featuring automatic guided vehicles.

According to Pierre Boisvert, “Maximizing modes of use of the maritime seaway to ship our aluminium to international markets is an integral part of Alouette’s strategy for ensuring its long-term opera-tions.” André Martel added, “The creation of this type of warehouse, with its leading-edge equipment, has a number of benefits in terms of both costs and productivity, and that help us stay competitive and meet our growing transportation logistic needs.” This type of innova-tion, combined with optimization of shipping work methods, means considerably faster ship loading and, by extension, reduces the time that ships spend at dock. Infrastructure is thus available for additional loading. Thanks to automation, Alouette is well positioned to deploy its growth projects. Construction of a closed building in a strategic location close to the ship loading area also means that aluminium sows are protected from the weather, especially during the winter.

“With the Aluminium Logistics Centre, Aluminerie Alouette now has access to a unique and innovative solution. Perfectly aligned with the Maritime Strategy that our government wishes to imple-ment, this center will increase the competitiveness and the transshipment capacity of the port of Sept-Îles, as well as reinforce intermodal transportation. This shows that it is possible to propel Quebec’s economy while giving a boost to our maritime industry”, said Mr. D’Amour.

Aluminerie Alouette ships over 450,000 tonnes of primary alu-minium per year – about 80 per cent of its production – via one of the aluminium industry’s largest port facilities in the Americas. In the words of Pierre Gagnon, “As a partner in an economic development project like this, the Port of Sept-Îles contributes actively to making the region an international aluminium shipment hub”. Construction of the Aluminium Logistics Centre was made possible by the financial participation of the Federal Government, via the Infrastructure Stim-ulus Fund, and Quebec’s Ministry of Transport (MTQ), via Part 3 of an assistance program aimed at reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, known by the french acronym “PARAGES.” In addition to prime contractor Hatch, a number of regional (Métal 7, Construction BLH, Groupe Trinor, Voltek), national (Mecfor, Rotalec) and interna-tional (FROG) companies took part in the construction project.