The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Expanding the port in Contrecœur: a decisive project for one of the city’s key players

Contrecoeur

Economic growth and the return of confidence in Montréal have given our companies a keen interest in exploiting foreign markets. To support them, it is imperative for the Port of Montreal to pursue its development by expanding the Contrecœur port terminal in order to increase its operational capacity.

The port is a strategic asset that plays an undeniable role within Quebec and Montréal’s economy, with economic benefits estimated at $1.6 billion for the province. The Port of Montreal manages $41 billion in merchandise, and each container that travels through contributes up to $600 to Quebec’s GDP. In Canada, 16,000 stable jobs result from the port, 7,000 of which are in Quebec.

An opportunity to seize

With the entry into effect of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the signature, on March 8, 2018, of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) expects to handle 60% more containers at the port of Montréal. This is without including future trade agreements that could be signed with major players in international trade like China and India.
 
Since there are no water lots that are suitable for this project on the island of Montréal, the MPA needs to find a solution outside the island. For the MPA, expanding on the south shore of the Saint Laurence River near Highway 30 and the Canadian National Railway (CN) is a good compromise.

It is crucial for the Port of Montreal to improve its facilities and increase its operational capacity. Its competitors along the North American coast have invested over $9 billion in their facilities over the course of the last few years. To remain competitive, the Port needs to ensure that its facilities meet the current and future needs of its clients.

Numerous economic advantages

The expansion of the port terminal at Contrecœur—a project valued at $750 million, which will create 6,000 jobs—answers real needs and will manifest itself through the growth of the transportation and logistics industry in the Montréal region. It will be a complete logistics hub and an economic driver for this industry in Montérégie. A strong logistical zone attracts talent and private businesses. The presence of a port will probably lead to other private investments. The technopôle Cité 3000 has already announced its intentions to develop on lands adjacent to those of the future Contrecœur port.

A carefully analyzed project

The MPA has been preparing this expansion for decades, and the project stands out for its considered approach. Since no project of this scale can be completed without repercussion, it is essential to consider the developer’s approach in the project’s current progression. The environmental impact has been rigorously studied, and measures to reduce it will be prioritized during construction and operation. It is important to highlight the care that the MPA is taking with this plan. The Chamber estimates that a project completed with the best practices—from engineering to community outreach, while accounting for safety and environmentalism—can only be seen as something positive.

The expansion of the Contrecœur terminal is a structuring and strategic project for Montréal. As a natural entryway into America from the Atlantic Ocean, the Greater Montréal region has many assets that allow it to play a central role in the merchandise transportation and logistics industry. It is important to provide the city with tools so that it can reach its full potential.

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