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

The Port received a huge boost to its development objectives earlier this year when both the provincial and federal governments announced significant investments in the Port.

In March, the Government of Quebec announced investments 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 an investment of more than $1.5 billion in the Quebec Maritime Strategy and for its intention to promote the implementation of logistics hubs.

In January, the Government of Canada announced an investment of up to $43.7 million in a three-component project that will:

• Increase container-handling capacity in the 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 the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), at a press conference held at the Port 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.”

The federal government is making the investment through the National Infrastructure Component of the New Building Canada Fund.

“Enhancing the Port of Montreal’s capacity and efficiency will encourage economic growth for businesses and residents in the region and greatly contribute to the global competitiveness of the nation as a whole,” said Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

The MPA and its partners will be responsible for the remaining cost of the project, the total of which is estimated at $132 million.

“This substantial financial contribution from the federal government will provide significant help in positioning the Port of Montreal to fully profit from growth opportunities in marine transportation in the coming years, particularly in the context of the implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA),” Ms. Vachon said. “Optimizing our container-handling capacity and improving our marine and road access will hugely benefit our clients and partners here and elsewhere, not to mention the Canadian economy.”

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

The Viau sector’s total handling capacity, including work previously carried out in the area, will eventually reach 600,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers), increasing the Port’s total container-handling capacity to 2.1 million TEUs. The Viau sector component of the project will cost $83 million. Termont Montréal will operate the new container-handling facility. Construction is to start this summer and the terminal is expected to be up and running in autumn 2016.

When fully operational, the new Viau terminal will generate 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, along with $340 million in economic benefits.

The 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. The MPA also built a new longshoremen’s hall and a new parking area and maintenance workshop for equipment and vehicles used by longshoremen.

Capacity at the 16.5-hectare Viau sector site currently stands at 150,000 TEUs following the redevelopment of land there. Railway tracks were relocated, energy-efficient LED lighting was installed, and sewer and water systems and the underground electrical network were restructured in order to fully optimize operations at the site.

The Port will reach its maximum handling capacity on its Island of Montreal territory with the new Viau sector development. The following phase of port expansion will be on land that the MPA owns in Contrecoeur, located some 40 kilometres east of Montreal. The MPA already has begun preparations and will continue its planning work in 2015 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.

The MPA is also hoping to move forward in 2015 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, the City of Montreal has guaranteed a financial contribution of $15 million toward the project, the entire value of which is $78 million.

At the Port’s petroleum products sector, the 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. The MPA also extended the length of the berth at Section 102 so that it can accommodate tankers that will transport to Valero’s refinery in Lévis, Quebec, oil sourced in North America and moved via pipeline to Montreal.

At Section 102 specifically, the MPA solidified the retention structure and redid the concrete above and below the water in order to restore the berth. The MPA 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 three years’ worth of investments at the facility totalling $12 million.

Logistec 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 SWL (safe working load) 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, the 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.