Aviation fuel: a predictable, stable, safe supply

Port Contrecoeur

As the city experiences major economic momentum, the MIFFC’s aviation fuel terminal is strategic for Montréal-Trudeau Airport. The Chamber came out in support of the project before the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement on February 27.

After decades of economic stagnation, marked by a GDP that trailed that of other North American cities, Montréal is back on track for growth, characterized by a low unemployment rate, the kick-off of structuring projects, international business opportunities and a major bump in tourism. Essentially, the city is experiencing renewed economic vitality.

To support this restored growth, it is important to reinvest in strategic assets. With activities on the rise over the past four years – currently 146 national and international destinations, 16 more than in 2014 – Montréal-Trudeau airport needs facilities that reflect its needs and ambitions.

A project that meets real needs

The aviation fuel terminal project, a private investment of $150 million by the Montreal International Fuel Facilities Corporation (MIFFC), will increase efficiency and predictability in Montréal-Trudeau’s refuelling operations.

Currently, aviation fuel destined for Québec arrives through the Québec oil port and is then shipped to Montréal by road and rail. With the Montréal-Est terminal project, fuel will come directly to the city by ship, be stored in the east end of Montréal, and be transported to the airport via pipeline. The MIFFC will be thereby able to more flexibly manage its supply by increasing its storage capacity by 160 million litres. A reduction in GHG emissions of 15% is also expected with the reduction in shipping by truck and train.

The project will also re-establish the value of unused port land and facilities intended for this purpose thereby creating jobs.

Solid expertise in Canada

The MIFFC project will be headed up by the FSM Management Group, a refuelling operations manager that manages 6 billion litres a year in Canada’s major airports, coast to coast.

The aviation fuel terminal project is similar to Vancouver’s, which is financed by the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation. The terminal is currently under construction, after approval by local authorities, in particular the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office.

Legitimate concerns

A fuel storage project tends to raise legitimate concerns. But it is important to note the MIFFC’s collaborative, transparent approach since the project was launched. A project run according to the best engineering and safety practices should benefit from favourable bias.

We recognize the need to set ambitious collective targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, we need to recognize that the current energy transition will not eliminate the need to use fuel from oil refining for years to come, particularly in aviation. An electric or solar plane able to carry hundreds of passengers is unfortunately not on the horizon for decades.

As an economic driver of Québec, the Montréal metropolitan area has many assets that allow it to play a leading role in the energy sector. To do this, projects like this must materialize. The Chamber therefore recommends that the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement make the case for the aviation fuel terminal project in Montreal East to the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.

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