Port visits India, Vietnam and Hong Kong

Asia is a market with great potential for the Port of Montreal. In 2012, Asia was the point of origin or final destination for almost 14 per cent of the containers moving through the port. And now the Port of Montreal is boosting its efforts to increase its share of traffic that moves between Asia and North America via the Suez Canal and is transshipped at ports in the Mediterranean.

“The Port of Montreal has all of the advantages necessary to be very competitive on this route,” said Tony Boemi, the Montreal Port Authority’s Vice-President of Growth and Development.

In order to better promote the Port of Montreal in Asia, Mr. Boemi embarked on a 10-day trade mission with Canadian National Railway in October to India, Vietnam and Hong Kong. He met with major shipping lines, non-vessel operators, freight forwarders and importers/exporters, and attended two receptions.

“We want to develop these emerging markets. These are growth markets for us,” Mr. Boemi said. “Europe and the Mediterranean will always be major core container markets for the Port of Montreal. But through transshipment centres in the Mediterranean, we see tremendous opportunities to obtain cargo from these specific Asian markets.”

The main purpose of the trip was to explain to clients and potential clients the advantages that the Port of Montreal has to offer.

“Once they realized what the Port of Montreal has to offer in terms of geographic location, our intermodal platform and two transcontinental railways, and the fact that we are a total discharge port, they were very impressed,” Mr. Boemi said.

Many of the people he met with were not even familiar with Montreal or the St. Lawrence River. “They now know that the Port of Montreal is a strategic gateway to North American markets,” he said.

“Afterwards, we even received emails from customers specifically telling us that they had diverted cargo to Montreal.”

Mr. Boemi said the port will continue its efforts to increase its visibility in Asia. In fact, it recently appointed a Hong Kong-based representative to act on its behalf in Asia (see separate story in this Port Feature).

“When people in Asia consider what ports they are going to use, we want to make sure that Montreal is included in the decision-making process,” Mr. Boemi said.

In its more traditional markets, the Port of Montreal is looking to host a joint reception with the Port of Antwerp, in Antwerp, in September. Representatives of the Port of Antwerp, led by Antwerp Port Authority CEO Eddy Bruyninckx, were in Montreal last fall. The Ports of Antwerp and Montreal hosted a reception on October 4, followed the next day by a breakfast seminar organized by the Port of Antwerp and Manufacturers & Exporters Quebec.

The Port of Antwerp is the Port of Montreal’s leading trade partner.

On this side of the ocean, the Port of Montreal will host in Montreal this spring and in Toronto and Chicago in the fall its regular receptions for shipping lines, shippers and freight forwarders.