On October 14, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the worksite of the new multi-user dock at Port of Sept Iles, which has reached a significant milestone with the completion of civil engineering works. Mr. Harper was accompanied by Denis Lebel, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and Jean D’Amour, Quebec’s Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy.

The construction phase of the multi-user dock, widely considered the largest maritime construction project in Canada, is now complete. All that remains is to install loading equipment. The $220 million construction project was made possible by a 25 per cent contribution from the federal government. Alderon Iron Ore, Champion Iron Mines, Labrador Iron Mines, New Millenium and Tata Steel Canada underwrote a significant portion of the development risk by financing 50 per cent of the capital cost in the form of advances against future wharfage fees and other fees, on a pro rata basis to their “reserved shipping capacity”. Port of Sept-Îles covered the remaining 25 per cent.

“Federal government funding was pivotal in helping us bring the five new dock users on board as financial partners,” noted Carol Soucy, Chair of Sept-Îles Port Authority Board of Directors. “By contributing to this project, which will have a huge impact in the region and all of Eastern Canada, the government has sent a clear message of strong support towards our region.”

While the construction site has now been closed, two shiploaders, currently in the final fabrication phases in China, are expected to be delivered in January and installed in early 2015. The multi-user dock is slated to open around early summer 2015.

“This strategic facility will pave the way for future development in the region and the Labrador Trough,” noted Sept-Îles Port Authority President and CEO Pierre D. Gagnon. “The dock will be able to service the world’s largest bulk carriers, known as “Chinamax” class vessels—the way of the future for bulk shipping. Thanks to their operational efficiency and larger capacity, these ships will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the number of ships moored in the bay.”