By Leo Quigley, AJOT
Record volumes, and an almost two percent increase in container traffic during the first nine months of this year have maintained the Port of Monteal’s position as leader in the container business in the Northeast Atlantic region of Canada.
Dominic Taddeo, president and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority, said the port is ‘very satisfied’ with the results for the first three quarters and said these results will ‘allow the Port of Montreal to continue to create the favorable and profitable condition our port users are looking for ‘’
Taddeo said the results are a reflection of the services provided by MSC and MOL that were launched this year between Canada and North Europe. The port expects to see continued growth in this area.
For many years the Port of Montreal was primarily a grain shipping port. However, as Pacific Rim countries turned, increasingly, from rice to grain, this piece of business moved westward to the Port of Vancouver. As a result, Montreal turned to containerized cargo in the late 1960s and, by the 1990s, prided itself as being the fourth largest container port on the East Coast of North America, and the largest in Canada.
In the first nine months of this year, container traffic has reached 962,989 teus, representing a 6.4% increase over last year.
The port does not rely entirely on containers, however,. Steel products at the port were up 57% during the first three quarters of this year to 238,000 tons and general cargo came in slightly lower than 2005, but hit 380,000 tons. This was offset by liquid bulk cargo that had increased by nearly 7.5% at the end of September, reaching 5.8 million tons.
In a prepared statement, Taddeo said the port is anticipating further increases in the liquid bulk sector and grain. The traditional commodity at the port continued to increase over the first half of the year and hit 935,000 tons by the end of September, a 15.3% increase.
Taddeo said the port authority is anticipating grain exports will continue to increase due, in part, to the installation of a new grain cleaner at the port’s grain handling facility.
During the first half of this year the Port of Montreal experienced the highest level of traffic in 20 years, with total cargo approaching 12 million tons, representing a one percent increase over the same period in 2005.
In announcing the mid-year statistics Taddeo said, ‘’ the results clearly demonstrate that the (Port of Montreal) continues to be one of North America’s primary gateways and that it remains extremely competitive in strategic North Atlantic markets.’ At mid-year, general cargo, including both containerized and non-containerized traffic, experienced an increase of roughly 41,000 tons, or 5.85 million tons in total, compared to 2005. Containerized traffic saw a 40,000 ton increase and now represents about half the traffic handled by the port.
One of the star performers, however, was petroleum products, followed by grain exports. Because of the growing demand for petroleum products, the port achieved an increase of over 20% in handlings, or roughly 3.04 million tons.
Also, grain traffic increased 20.5% compared to the first half of the previous year at 659,000 tons. In its mid-year report the MPA said the increases in grain traffic resulted from ‘stronger sales in export markets.’