The Port of Montreal is reinventing itself to perform even better, one project at a time.

“The investments that we are making are directly related to infrastructure expansion and development and improving the flow of goods through the port and will accommodate traffic and market growth, ensure better integration into the metropolitan urban fabric, and maintain the excellence of port services and activities,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA). “I am pleased to report that these projects are progressing at a very rapid pace.”

The MPA’s keystone strategic infrastructure project is its new Contrecoeur container terminal, which will provide the port with up to an additional 1.15 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers) of container-handling capacity and promote major economic benefits on a regional and national scale (please see separate story in this Port Feature).

But Contrecoeur Terminal is just one of the many significant projects that the MPA has in its pipeline.

Finalization of Viau Terminal

The second phase of works to finalize Viau Terminal is scheduled for completion this coming December. Phase II will add 250,000 TEUs to the terminal’s current container-handling capacity for a total capacity of 600,000 TEUs. Work started a little more than a year ago and has included railway works, installing piles, dynamic soil compaction, underground infrastructure works, laying foundation and paving.

In accordance with the commitment made by the MPA and terminal operator Termont Montreal Inc. during public consultations on the project held in 2015, mitigation measures such as dust suppressants applied to prevent or reduce the spread of dust, and high-performance mufflers on all motorized equipment, have been implemented throughout the works to minimize disruptions to neighbouring communities,

The first phase of development work for a container terminal in the Viau sector, which added 350,000 TEUs to the port’s handling capacity, began in November 2016. The terminal was developed to meet the continued growth in container traffic through the port. It included the installation of two gantry cranes, the development of two berths, an intermodal zone and truck access routes, a multiservice building including garage space, administrative offices and a room for longshore workers, and the redevelopment of railway services and road access.

The total cost of the Viau Terminal project is $197 million. It has had a significant social and economic impact, generating $340 million a year in economic benefits and 2,500 direct and indirect jobs.

Grand Quay Observation Tower

Delivered in 2017 for Montreal’s 375th anniversary and inaugurated in 2018, the Grand Quay of the Port of Montreal is a new public space on Montreal’s waterfront that offers breathtaking views of the city and river. It includes Promenade d’Iberville, Commencement Square, and a new cruise terminal featuring contemporary architecture.

The last element of the Grand Quay’s metamorphosis is an observation tower, which will see the light of day in 2021.

Construction of the tower began in autumn 2019. The steel structure assembly is almost complete. The construction of a curtain wall around the tower, interior finishing and the exterior layout including a huge terrace will follow in 2021.

“As a major tourist and architectural landmark in the city, the observation tower will contribute to Montreal’s reputation, attractiveness and tourism offer,” Ms. Vachon said.

The Grand Quay, formerly known as Alexandra Pier, offers the public better access to the river, integrates the site into the urban fabric of Old Montreal, and meets the operational needs of shipping lines and cruise passengers.

The final concept designed after open houses and several meetings with key partners from the economic, tourism and political sectors, along with stakeholders committed to Montreal’s harmonious development, was developed by the architectural firm Provencher Roy.

 Road link in the Viau Terminal sector

About 2,500 trucks transit through the Port of Montreal’s facilities every day, adding to traffic on Notre-Dame Street, a major Montreal thoroughfare that runs alongside the port.

The MPA intends to build an overpass spanning Notre-Dame Street in the Viau Terminal sector to the future extension of Assomption Blvd. in order to improve road accessibility to the port, connect port terminals directly to the highway network, and ensure a continuous movement of containers to and from terminals, better traffic flow and reduced truck traffic in the local network.

The MPA held a public meeting on the proposed road link at the beginning of December at which it presented the preliminary results of an Environmental Effects Evaluation (EEE), finalized in summer 2019, along with the proposed design. Some 50 area residents attended the meeting to learn more about the project. The MPA’s Environment, Infrastructure Management and Community Relations teams were on hand to provide explanations and answer questions.

Among the elements analyzed in the EEE were greenhouse gas emissions; air quality/dust and contaminants; visual/lighting impact; sound environment; traffic; wetland inventories; soil quality; wildlife and plant inventories; groundwater quality; technological risk assessment; cumulative effects assessment; follow-up and monitoring programs. The assessment will allow the MPA to identify and implement mitigation measures for responsible impact management.

The final results of the EEE and the final project design will be presented to the local population, as the call for tenders and the start of work is scheduled for 2021. The opening of the overpass with a temporary road is slated for 2022.

Bickerdike Terminal redevelopment

Rehabilitation work on Bickerdike Terminal, one of the oldest port terminals in Montreal, began in 2019. This $25-million investment will optimize facilities and involves the redevelopment of truck access to improve traffic fluidity, safety and security, an increase and upgrade of electrical capacity, replacement of buildings, and redevelopment of container and cargo storage and handling areas and handling areas for cruise ships.

Bickerdike Terminal is the main provisioning port to Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands. It handles every year some 600,000 tonnes of diversified goods such as containers, cars and trucks, in addition to serving cruise ships.

The Government of Quebec is supporting the project with a grant of $8.3 million under its Maritime Strategy to rehabilitate terminal facilities.

Work that has occurred in 2020 includes the building of a new entrance on Pierre-Dupuy Avenue, installation of a new gatehouse, repair of underground networks (water supply, sanitary, rainwater and electrical/telecommunication systems) and railway network repairs. Work in progress involves the redevelopment of the truck access and the container and cargo storage areas and the installation of a new electrical substation.

Project works are scheduled for completion in 2021 with the installation and start-up of equipment and switchgear in the new electrical substation, the building of a parking lot for employees and cruise passengers, the installation of signs and landscaping.

Along with these investments directly related to infrastructure expansion and development, the MPA has launched projects specifically aimed at improving the flow of goods. These projects were made possible through grants from the governments of Quebec and Canada.

Rail capacity expansion project

The MPA operates its own railway network with close to 100 kilometres of track serving the port’s 14 terminals. The network transports some 2,500 kilometres of railcars each year. Rail accounts for 45% of the port’s containerized cargo traffic and plays a definitive role in the efficient management of goods on its docks.

In a project to increase the port’s rail freight capacity, the MPA is adding six kilometres of tracks and switches to the rail network. The $50-million project also includes complementary work to develop the internal rail network and relocation of the port road.

The project began in 2019 with the launch of the design and planning phase and field studies for noise, dust, fauna, flora and traffic. Now underway is the integration and verification of plans and specifications and finalization of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The start of project works is slated for 2021.

The project has received financial support of $18.3 million from the Government of Quebec under its Maritime Strategy and $18.4 million from the Government of Canada under the National Trade Corridor Fund.