In mid-April, during a joint trade mission in Montreal, the port authorities of Montreal and Antwerp, Belgium renewed their co-operative agreement.

The first agreement, signed in March 2013, resulted in four trade missions to Montreal and Antwerp during which extensive business contacts were developed. These meetings also enabled productive exchanges of information on issues such as sustainable development, land use, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, global trends in the markets, and the development of port logistics zones.

As Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), pointed out, this agreement’s renewal is a great fit with the Port of Montreal’s commitment to strengthen its ties with its largest European trading partner. “In the last three years, we were able to realize how much our two ports share the same concerns. We got to know each other, to collaborate effectively and we are now at a level of mutual trust that lets our departments discuss many issues of common interest and take concrete action on joint business development. The renewal of this agreement beautifully illustrates our commitment to further our collaboration and in doing so, continually provide better service to our clients.”

For Luc Arnouts, Chief Commercial Officer and member of the Port of Antwerp’s Board of Directors, “The Port of Antwerp and the Port of Montreal share many common traits. As large container ports located inland, Antwerp owes its prosperity to the Scheldt River and Montreal to the St. Lawrence River. During our collaboration we have deepened trade relations, among other things, resulting in a network that greatly benefits both partners. Implementation of the CETA agreement will give rise to a new dimension in our co-operation.” 

Every tier of government in Canada has recognized the agreement between the Port of Montreal and the Port of Antwerp. In fact, the agreement between the two ports has been repeatedly cited by the federal and provincial governments, along with the City of Montreal, as an example of beneficial strategic development for international trade.

A gateway of choice for European markets and a major transshipment hub, the Port of Antwerp is the Port of Montreal’s largest trading partner. One container in five handled at the Port of Montreal arrives from or gets sent to the Port of Antwerp.


Operated by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montreal is a major diversified transshipment centre that handles all types of goods — containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk. It is a leading container port served by the largest container shipping lines in the world.

Based on preliminary data, the Port of Montreal handled 32 million tonnes of cargo and welcomed 91,000 passengers and crewmembers at its cruise terminal in 2015. It has its own rail network directly dockside. It is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system.

Port activity supports 16,000 jobs and generates $2.1 billion in economic spin-offs annually.


A true economic powerhouse for the region of Flanders,Antwerp is the largest port in Belgium and the second largest in Europe. From wind turbines to automobiles to oil, from coffee to fruit: the most varied products transit through it. However, the Port ensures far more than loading and unloading cargo, having positioned itself as a unique logistics platform and becoming one of the world’s leading centres for the petrochemical industry. While providing the fastest and least expensive connection to the European hinterland, it also operates responsibly and sustainably.