Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO Sylvie Vachon officially inaugurated the start of a new year of activity at the port of Montreal by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Vijayendra Gurukant Chodankar of India, master of the Federal Spey, the first ocean-going vessel to enter the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2014.

The Federal Spey left the port of Maceió, Brazil, on December 14. It crossed Port of Montreal’s limits on January 1 at 2:02 p.m. Its arrival underlines the fact that the Port of Montreal is open year-round to all ocean-going vessels.

The event also allowed the Port to recognize the work of Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central pilots Daniel Perron and Michel Lavallée who brought the vessel safely into port.

The Port held a special celebration this year to mark the 175th Gold-Headed Cane presentation ceremony and the 50th anniversary of year-round navigation on the St. Lawrence River to and from Montreal. The ceremony brought together numerous representatives of the maritime industry and Montreal’s business and cultural communities as well as political figures including Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre. “This ceremony allows us to thank and pay tribute to all of our partners and the entire maritime transportation industry that participates in and contributes to port activity in Montreal,” Ms. Vachon said.

Registered in the Marshall Islands, the Federal Spey is 190 metres long. Fednav Ltd. operates the bulk vessel, which entered service in 2012. It docked at the Lantic Sugar terminal, operated by Logistec Stevedoring Inc.

A good year for Port of Montreal

According to preliminary statistics, Port of Montreal handled some 28.1 million tonnes of cargo in 2013, down only slightly from 2012 and its record-setting year of 2011. Given that Europe – the port’s main overseas trading partner – is still experiencing an economic slowdown, 2013 was a good year for the Port. The year ended on a promising note as the port can now accommodate post-Panamax-type vessels. Moreover, the port has increased its container capacity by 200,000 TEUs.