As part of its commitment to higher education, the Port of Montreal is teaming up with a local college to provide a two-day course to students studying transportation and logistics.

The idea for the module originated with the Canada Maritime Conference that the port authority has hosted the past two years with Journal of Commerce Conferences. Some 25 students attending three Montreal-area colleges that offer a dedicated transportation and logistics program – Champlain College, Collège Lionel-Groulx and Cégep André Laurendeau – were invited to join some 300 maritime industry executives and transportation leaders at the conference each year.

Students who attended the event said they appreciated the opportunity to better understand the transportation and logistics industry and its challenges and meet with industry officials.

Following the success of the student involvement at the conference, the port authority’s communications department proposed the creation of a module that would examine specifically transportation and logistics through the Port of Montreal.

To be held at the Port of Montreal Administration Building on Feb. 29 and March 1, the module, for some 30 adult students at Champlain College, will feature presentations by Montreal Port Authority officials and transportation industry representatives as well as an on-site visit of the port. The program has been developed jointly by the port’s communications department and Peter Raimondo, a logistics instructor at Champlain College and retired transportation industry executive.

Day 1, organized by the port authority, will look at the emergence of Montreal as a diversified global port, the logistics and transportation chain through the port, intermodality, and the challenges of a working port located in a major metropolitan city.

Day 2, organized by Champlain College, will feature presentations by Kevin Doherty, CEO of container terminal operator Montreal Gateway Terminals, Michel Tosini, Executive Vice-President of bulk and breakbulk terminal operator Federal Marine Terminals, and Christopher Gillespie, President of freight-forwarding company Gillespie-Munro Inc. The day will conclude with an on-site visit of the port and its facilities.

“We want to establish closer ties with college and university students because they will be our future leaders in the transportation and logistics sector,” said Yves Gilson, Chief of Communications at the Montreal Port Authority. “It is important for them to understand what the port is and how it functions.”

“This is a very, very rich opportunity for these students to get a hands-on type of understanding of what goes on in a port,” Mr. Raimondo said.

“I have to compliment the people at the Port of Montreal for reaching out to the community like this. It’s really thinking ‘outside of the box.’ Sylvie Vachon (Montreal Port Auth­ority President and CEO) deserves a lot of credit for bringing the port and its facilities closer to the community.”

Mr. Raimondo said he’d like to see the idea of “off-campus classes” continue with other sectors of the transportation industry.

Following the pilot project with Champlain College, the hope is to offer the module to the two other Montreal-area colleges that offer a dedicated transportation and logistics program.

The module could also become part of a program led by the logistics and transportation industrial cluster proposed for the Montreal region, in which universities, colleges and researchers involved in the transportation and logistics sector would play an important role. An interim committee chaired by Ms. Vachon has been established to analyze the possibilities of forming the cluster.