The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Ports as pillars of our economic vitality

Ports are urban economic pillars. The Port of Montreal is no exception, and the last few years have been marked by spectacular growth in its activities. Today, the Port faces new challenges to maintaining its momentum and continuing to meet the growing demand. Transport Canada’s consultation offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the future needs of Canadian ports in order to ensure their long-term competitiveness.

This brief is part of a consultation with Transport Canada aimed at a comprehensive review of Canada Port Authorities that will help them “to optimize their current and future role in the transportation system as innovative assets that support inclusive growth and trade.” The Chamber and the city’s business community fully support this goal.

The business community feels that the following guiding principle must direct Transport Canada’s Port Modernization Review: Canada’s ports must be able to take advantage of the momentum generated by the economic boom and the increase in trade opportunities.

This brief puts forward several recommendations for strengthening ports in their role as real urban economic pillars in their respective cities.

Here are the Chamber’s recommendations:

Recommendation #1: Establish a modernization strategy focused on digital transformation and innovation to ensure the competitiveness of our ports.

Recommendation #2: Establish a national strategy for collaboration between port authorities and academic institutions and provide funds for its functioning.

Recommendation #3: Encourage the harmonization of Canadian laws and regulations at all levels of government so that port authorities can more easily fulfill their role in support of the movement of goods and trade.  

Recommendation #4: Establish a permanent federal fund dedicated to port infrastructure with a long-term vision that establishes performance goals and common objectives for port authorities.

Recommendation #5: Recognize port activities as essential services in the event of work stoppages.

Recommendation #6: Give ports full power to explore new ways of financing to help achieve their growth objectives.

By meeting the challenges and opportunities of the future through better synergy between the sector’s stakeholders and special attention to competitiveness and funding needs, we hope to give our companies the tools they need to continue to benefit from their economic momentum and explore international markets.

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