By Brian Dunn

After two years of operations, CargoM, the Logistics and Transportation Cluster of Metropolitan Montreal, is well established with a diverse membership which continues to grow, according to Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO, Montreal Port Authority and Chair of the Board of CargoM. “Hats off to a small but dedicated CargoM team of Mathieu Charbonneau, (Executive Director), Magali Amiel (Senior Project Manager), Karine Dudognon (Administrative Assistant) and Florian Chabin-Psyché (Project Manager),” she said at CargoM’s Annual Meeting on June 11.

CargoM became the seventh Montreal cluster in 2013 and has received strong support from both Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and Jean D’Amour, Quebec Minister of Transportation and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy, noted Mr. Charbonneau. “Our mandate is to promote the industry with the support of the private sector. We now have 46 members, including nine new ones since our last annual meeting.” The CargoM Executive Director outlined the six working groups that have been created in the last two years and the challenges faced this year.

Working Group One, Logistics and Transport Development, will try to secure funding for its logistics promotion tool and hire a dedicated resource person. Working Group Two, Communications and Outreach, plans to create a video on Montreal as a logistics and transportation hub, develop information capsules on the sector for social media and plan the Cargo Logistics Canada Expo and Conference taking place in Montreal next February 17-18. Working Group Three, Road Access and Fluidity in Road Transport, wants to establish a sub-committee for the standardization of information, in collaboration with Working Group Four, Innovation and Cutting Edge Technology. It also plans to roll out a Trucker Mobile app with Group Four which hopes to develop a technology monitoring strategy.

Working Group Five on Regulations wants to arrange a joint meeting with Canadian and American customs officials and to develop a workshop on the challenges of regional land use planning, specifically in urban areas. Working Group Six focuses on Human Resources/Workforce and intends to prepare a “Track that Container” video with the Montreal School Commission to highlight the importance of the logistics chain and the trades involved.

“We’re very happy with our progress and after two years, we’re ahead of a lot of other clusters that have been around for six or seven years, so we’re ahead of where we want to be,” Mr. Charbonneau said following the annual meeting. “The main goal was to get everyone to work together and pushing the cluster as a whole and not individually so that has been achieved. Now we have to find the tools to make improvements.”

Initially, there was a lot of negative feedback from the public that didn’t want more vessels, trains or trucks in and around the port which has abated a bit thanks to the creation of CargoM and the Maritime Strategy, said Mr. Charbonneau. “But still, a lot of people don’t know the Port of Montreal is open 12 months as year and they don’t know everything the industry brings to the city. They only see the problems that we create. Part of our mission is to educate and that is one of our biggest and most frustrating challenges.”