Montreal is a major international port linked to more than 140 countries around the world. Thanks to its strategic location, it is a leader in the container trade between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean and the U.S. Midwest. It handles slightly more than 30 percent of all containers moving on that route.
But thanks to its diversification efforts, the Port is now handling more and more containers to and from other parts of the world.
“More and more shipping lines are adopting strategies that include transshipment ports, and this is strongly benefiting trade between Montreal and the rest of the world, and certainly Asia,” said Tony Boemi, Vice-President of Growth and Development for the Montreal Port Authority.
One container in three now moving through the Port is transhipped.
Last year, 17 percent of the container traffic moving through the Port had its point of origin or destination through a port in Asia, up from 15 percent in 2014 and 14 percent in 2012. China accounts for 47 percent of that Asian traffic, followed by India (24 percent) and Malaysia, Vietnam and Pakistan (6 percent each).
The Port also is working to better understand the African market, which now represents about 4 percent of its container market.
Last April, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) reinforced its presence in the Port and positioned itself for long-term growth in Canada with the introduction of its new Med-Canada Express 2 service, which links Montreal with the carrier’s hubs of Valencia in Spain and Sines in Portugal. The new service complements MSC’s Med-Canada Express 1. MSC also made changes to the rotation of the Canada Express 1 service, adding a new direct call at Gioia Tauro, MSC’s south Italian hub port in the central Med.
In October, Hapag-Lloyd added the 4,045-TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) Quebec Express as the fourth vessel on its weekly St. Lawrence Coordinated Service 2 (AT2), which connects Montreal with major European ports. Previously known as the Longavi, the vessel was renamed for the Province of Quebec as part of Hapag-Lloyd’s tradition of naming ships after the markets it serves.
“The vessel name was chosen to show our close dedication to this trade,” said Wolfgang Schoch, Hapag-Lloyd’s Managing Director for Canada. “Hapag-Lloyd has a longstanding tie to the Province of Quebec and the Montreal Gateway. Our naming of the ship shows our long-term determination to be a relevant player in this trade. We are also very pleased that the Province of Quebec has dedicated a serious push to its new Maritime Strategy, which to us is an important step in the right direction.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The Port of Montreal is an economic driver:
• Marine and port activity in Montreal supports more than 16,000 jobs.
• Some $41 billion worth of goods move through the port annually.
• The Port generates $2.1 billion in added value to the Canadian economy
The Port handled a record 32 million tonnes of traffic in 2015, up 5.2 percent over the previous year.
Container traffic increased by 4.1 percent in 2015 to reach 13.1 million tonnes of cargo moved in 1.45 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers).
Non-containerized general cargo increased by 18.1 percent to total 225,000 tonnes in 2015. The main copper anodes, and over-dimensional cargo such structural components and railway tracks.
Dry bulk traffic increased by 3.6 percent to reach 8.74 million tonnes thanks mainly to an increase in domestic gravel movements and exports of cement to the U.S.
Liquid bulk traffic was up 7.8 percent to 9.97 million tonnes. The increase is explained in part by the drop in the price of oil.