The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is playing a key role in the development of two industrial port zones (IPZs) located in and around the Port of Montreal.

As part of the Quebec Maritime Strategy 2015-2020 Action Plan, the Government of Quebec announced in March 2016 a $300-million investment in the development of IPZs throughout the province to enhance Quebec’s competitiveness.

“The development of industrial port zones throughout Quebec will be a strategic vector of economic development for Quebec businesses,” said MPA President and CEO Sylvie Vachon. “At the MPA, we most definitely believe in the merits of the concept of these zones.”

The IPZs will rely on Quebec’s commercial port system. Specifically, the Action Plan states that the proximity of a commercial port offers a genuine comparative advantage on which many firms rely – in particular those in the manufacturing sector.

Through its support of the zones, the provincial government is seeking by 2030 to create about 3,000 direct jobs, foster more than $2.4 billion in private industrial investments, increase Quebec exports through better integration of manufacturing enterprises into global supply chains, maximize the use of infrastructure, and reduce nuisances and maintenance costs related to the use of the road network for freight transportation and by drawing closer together sites for production, freight transportation and the reception of raw materials.

“The zones will enable the companies that operate in them to achieve broader synergy and offer a comparative advantage to those that require port services,” the Action Plan states.

The MPA signed collaboration agreements for the Montreal and the Contrecoeur-Varennes IPZs in February 2017 and September 2016, respectively. Under the agreements, the provincial government will fund up to 70 percent of the costs associated with implementing the related development plans for each IPZ, to a maximum of $125,000.

“Montreal and Contrecoeur are well suited to the implementation of the industrial port zone concept, and the MPA is proud to be fully participating in the initiative alongside partners such as CargoM (the Logistics and Transportation Metropolitan Cluster of Montreal), municipalities and the Government of Quebec,” Ms. Vachon said.

The members of the local committee mandated to establish the Montreal IPZ are the MPA, the City of Montreal, the City of Montreal East, the Montreal Metropolitan Community, CargoM and relevant departments and agencies. Ms. Vachon has been named Chair of the Montreal IPZ.

“Montreal is a natural, ideally suited site to implement such a concept,” Ms. Vachon said. “Ports are real engines for attracting business. Now more than ever, the port and members of the Montreal supply chain can facilitate a boom of development in a variety of industrial sectors. This is the very basis of an industrial port zone, which the Port of Montreal has belonged to for a very long time.”

Signatories to the Contrecoeur-Varennes agreement are the Quebec government, the MPA, the cities of Contrecoeur and Varennes, the Marguerite-D’Youville Regional County Municipality and the Montreal Metropolitan Community.

Ms. Vachon said the Port of Montreal first saw Contrecoeur as a prime location for future growth in the containerized cargo sector more than 30 years. “We began the planning and development at Contrecoeur of a terminal that could handle 1.15 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers),” she said. “A development plan like this featuring an industrial port zone can only improve the value of our container market development project and strengthen the presence of existing dry bulk operations.”

The development of IPZs is also a perfect fit with the MPA’s Port+ business strategy, a concept that consists mainly of fostering partnerships and providing value-added services close to port facilities.

“I often say that a port, like a magnet, attracts the companies and services that benefit from its presence,” Ms. Vachon said. “This has been our business model for years. I am so very pleased that the government is strengthening our efforts.”