Work to build and develop new container-handling capacity, improve road and marine accesses, and plans to pursue the restoration of a cruise terminal and the pier on which it is located, have been on Port of Montreal’s agenda in 2015.

The Port received a huge boost to its development objectives earlier this year when both the provincial and federal governments announced significant financial contributions to the Port. In March, the government of Quebec announced contributions of $75 million to improve direct road access to the port and $20 million toward the restoration of Alexandra Pier and the Iberville Passenger Terminal. These announcements are part of the provincial government’s commitment to support the marine industry through a multi-year investment of more than $1.5 billion in Quebec’s marine-related industries and development of logistics hubs (Quebec Maritime Strategy).

In January, the government of Canada announced a contribution of up to $43.7 million toward the projected cost of $132 million of projects to increase container-handling capacity in Port of Montreal’s Viau sector, deepen vessel berths, and improve truck traffic flow in and around the port. “This money will support our development projects intended to ensure that our already very busy facilities can adapt to meet projected growth,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of Montreal Port Authority (MPA) at a press conference to announce the federal government contribution. “More specifically, this work is expected to significantly increase the port’s handling capacity, facilitate the accommodation of larger vessels, and greatly improve traffic flow for the more than 2,500 trucks that pass through the port daily.”

“This announcement is big news for Montreal,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. “This contribution will allow the Port to become even more competitive and further expand its global reach.”

In 2013, the Port redeveloped its land in Montreal’s East End between Pie IX Boulevard and Viau Street (Viau Sector) to allow storage of up to 150,000 containers. The January 2015 announcements allowed MPA to lease the land to Termont Montréal to construct and operate a new container-handling facility with an initial capacity of 350,000 containers. Termont Montréal will invest $42 million in the initial phase of the terminal project, which is expected to terminate by the end of 2016. If container growth continues, Termont Montréal will invest an additional $30 million toward the project’s second phase, which would see capacity increased to 600,000 containers, increasing the Port’s total container-handling capacity to 2.1 million TEUs.

MPA completed the first phase of redevelopment projects at the Viau and Maisonneuve sectors in 2014. These projects added space for another 200,000 TEUs on port territory and increased container-handling capacity by 13 per cent to the current 1.7 million TEUs. Transport Canada contributed $15.1 million to those projects. The total cost of the work amounted to almost $40 million. At the Maisonneuve sector, space to handle an additional 50,000 TEUs was developed at the site. MPA also built a new longshoremen’s hall and a new equipment and vehicle maintenance workshop.

The port will reach its maximum handling capacity on its Island of Montreal territory with the new Viau sector development. Further capacity expansion will be on land that MPA owns in Contrecoeur, located some 40 kilometres east of Montreal. MPA has begun preparations and is continuing its planning work to develop a 1.15-million-TEU container terminal there. This project is part of the MPA’s long-term expansion plan. “All of the winning conditions, including continued growth of the container market and positive impacts from CETA, must be met before the terminal is developed,” Ms. Vachon said.

MPA is also hoping to move forward with plans to restore Alexandra Pier and the Iberville Passenger Terminal. The project, unveiled in 2014, is subject to the completion of its financing structure. In addition to the provincial government announcement of $20 million, City of Montreal has guaranteed a financial contribution of $15 million toward the project, the entire value of which is $78 million. MPA is working to identify a creative way to complete the financing structure of this project in order to fulfill its wish to deliver a new cruise terminal for 2017.

At the Port’s petroleum products facilities, MPA has restored berths at Sections 101 and 102 and carried out work at berths 105 and 106 following an agreement it has concluded with Valero Energy. MPA also extended the length of the berth at Section 102 so that it can accommodate tankers that will transport oil sourced in North America and moved to Montreal via pipeline to Valero’s refinery in Lévis, Quebec. At Section 102 specifically, MPA reinforced the retention structure and redid the concrete above and below the waterline to restore the berth, and extended the length of the berth by 40 metres by installing two dolphins – fixed man-made structures that are not connected to shore.

In other developments, Logistec Stevedoring Inc., which operates the Port’s multipurpose terminal at Contrecoeur, has completed a multi-year investment there totalling $12 million, having installed a new rail-mounted hopper and a Liebherr crane with a capacity of 120 tonnes in lift mode and 75 tonnes in grab mode – the largest capacity in North America for a rail-mounted crane. Logistec also installed new tracks and an electrical supply and distribution system to meet the crane and hopper’s modern designs and to make the terminal more energy efficient. Logistec also covered fixed conveyors that link the berth to the Yara Canada fertilizer terminal.

The new equipment allows Logistec to move larger volumes of bulk cargo and work with a more diversified cargo base. In addition to bulk cargo, the terminal has enhanced its ability to handle breakbulk, project and heavy-lift cargo. For its part, MPA has invested $2 million in its Contrecoeur facilities over the past three years to rebuild a handling area, renovate a gangway and reconstruct aqueducts and storm sewers.