The Port of Montréal is a major diversified transshipment centre operated by the Montréal Port Authority (MPA), writes the port’s VP Growth and Development Tony Boemi. Located 1,600 kilometres inland from the Atlantic coast, at the centre of a fully integrated rail, road and pipeline network, the Port of Montréal is an essential link in the supply chain of the major consumer markets of Eastern Canada and the US Midwest and Northeast.
The Port of Montréal’s strategic geographic location, makes it the shortest direct route between the world and North America’s heartland in Canada, with access to 110 million consumers within two truck or rail days.
Connected to both Class 1 railways, the CN and CP, the Port of Montréal’s rail partners provide efficient and reliable service, offering two daily departures to and from major Canadian and Midwest Markets.
With a record fifth consecutive year in 2018, and continued growth in most of its sectors, the port’s biggest challenge will be to accommodate this growth in the near future.
The diversification of cargo handled at the Port of Montréal will continue to be a guarantee of success in 2019 (containers, liquid bulk, dry bulk, breakbulk and cruises).
For the bulk sectors, the resumption of the grain operations with Viterra in September 2018 restored grain shipments through our gateway. This resumption combined with the port’s other sectors will contribute towards what is expected to be a sixth consecutive record year for the port of Montréal in total tonnage in 2019.
Dry bulk
A hub for dry bulk cargo handling, the Port of Montréal is a vital gateway for raw materials such as iron ore and salt minerals for roads, as well as gypsum, gravel, raw sugar and other products.
The 12 solid bulk berths in Montréal and Contrecœur as well as direct access to the CN and CP rail networks give the Port a competitive advantage for shipping goods.
Grain handling
The large cargo capacity makes the Port of Montréal grain elevator one of the fastest and most efficient on the Saint Lawrence River. Its year-round operations and ability to accommodate unit trains allow the facility to maintain links with international markets at all times. The Port of Montréal also has a facility dedicated to the containerization, storage, cleaning, sifting and packaging of agricultural products. This facility is strategically located near the container terminals.
With the strongest cranes in North America, the Port of Montréal has operators with experienced teams who can securely handle all types of breakbulk, general and oversized cargo.
Infrastructure developments
With growth rates forecast at 8% for this year, and with all sectors having exceeded expectations since 2017, the Port of Montréal has much to look forward to. The completion of the expansion at the Contrecœur terminal is reaching critical status.
Other improvements include the development of the Bickerdike terminal. This terminal handles not only containers, but also project and breakbulk cargoes. The design process has been completed, and work is scheduled to start this month to:
* redevelop truck access (fluidity and security);
* increase and upgrade electrical capacity;
* replace buildings;
* redevelop container and cargo storage areas; and
* redevelop handling areas for cruise ships.
Montréal is also working to increase rail capacity at the port. The design and planning phase for this began in June last year, with work to begin shortly. The project includes $18.4 million in financial support granted by the Government of Canada to optimize its intermodal network under the National Trade Corridors Fund, as well as $18.3 million in financial support granted by the Government of Quebec under its Maritime Strategy. Total project cost is estimated at $50 million.
The Port of Montreal’s rail network currently has close to 100km of railways to serve all 14 terminals. Every year, it supports 2,500km of rail cars. An increase in rail freight capacity will support the growth of the Canadian economy.
Works will include:
* laying 6km of rail tracks;
* complementary works developing the internal rail network; and
* relocating the port road (sewer, water supply system, electricity network along with the road).
In terms of dry bulk projects, there will investments will be made at several bulk terminals operated by Logistec. The following elements are currently undergoing: 
* construction of a BCR slab and related services (sewer, water, lighting, etc.) for the reception of solid and general bulk to increase handling capacity in Montréal and Contrecoeur Terminals; and
* demolition and reconstruction of hangars to optimize the port’s covered storage.
Dry Cargo International: Great Lakes