The Port of Montreal is connected to 140 countries around the world. It handles cargo to and from the European Union, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. As the closest international container port to Eastern and Central Canada and the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, it provides access to 110 million consumers in less than two days through its excellent rail and road connections.

Traditionally, the port has been a leader in the container trade between the European Union and the U.S. Midwest. But because of the Montreal Port Authority’s (MPA) diversification efforts, the port now handles an increasing amount of containerized cargo traffic to and from other parts of the world, in particular Asia. Today, almost one of every four containers moving through the Port of Montreal is connected to Asia.

Indeed, based on volume, Asia now accounts for 23 percent of the port’s international container market. That’s an increase of 35 percent over 2015, when Asia represented 17 percent of the port’s international container market. In fact, traffic growth with Asia helped offset the overall stagnation of the container shipping trade worldwide and a slight decrease in traffic from some of the port’s traditional markets in 2016.

Why is the port having such success in other markets? “Quite simply, the port is benefiting from more and more carriers adopting strategies that make use of transshipment ports overseas,” said Tony Boemi, Vice-President of Growth and Development for the MPA. “Most notably, the use of these hubs has booted trade between Montreal and emerging markets in Asia as well as Latin America and the Middle East.”

In 2016, transshipment accounted for 42 percent of the Port of Montreal’s international container market, compared to 38 percent in 2015, representing an increase of more than 10 percent in volume.

The MPA has teamed up with international representatives in the United States, Europe and Asia to develop new business. Together, they meet with shipping lines around the world on a regular basis to pursue opportunities.

Elsewhere on the international scene, the MPA has a cooperative agreement with the Port of Antwerp that has been renewed to 2019. The Port of Antwerp is the Port of Montreal’s largest trading partner; one container in five handled at the Port of Montreal arrives from or is destined to the Port of Antwerp.

The MPA is also participating in trade missions around the world with high-ranking government officials, in particular within the scope of the Government of Quebec’s Maritime Strategy, designed, among other things, to make Quebec a transatlantic trade hub.

The MPA is continuing to increase its presence across social media platforms and uses targeted E-blasts to reach key industry representatives around the world. The MPA now has more than 12,000 followers on its “Trading with the World” and counterpart “Commercer avec le monde” Showcase pages on LinkedIn, which represents an increase of 500 percent in the number of followers over 2015.

“These pages provide quality and pertinent information to the port’s target audiences and are a place where they can go to participate in high-level exchanges,” said Yves Gilson, Director of Marketing and Cruises at the MPA.