AJOT Insights

Port of Montreal sets new cargo record

Jan 04, 2017

The Port of Montreal has continued its upward momentum, setting a new record for total cargo in 2016 and coming within 1% of matching its container record of nearly 1.5 million TEU in 2015.

“According to preliminary statistics, the Port of Montreal handled 35.2 million metric tons of freight in 2016,” said Sylvie Vachon, president and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority. “This corresponds to an increase of more than 10%.”

Large increases in liquid bulk and grain shipments boosted total throughput.

The second biggest Canadian port after Vancouver is a major player in the North Atlantic container trade, with its deep inland location on the St. Lawrence River well positioned for ocean carriers notably serving markets in Eastern Canada and the US Midwest via extensive intermodal connections.

The 2016 performance was outlined at the traditional annual ceremony marking the arrival of the first ocean-going vessel to enter the Port of Montreal in the new year. The vessel was the Chem Sirius, a chemical tanker operated by Ace Tankers CV and flying the Liberian flag which had left the Port of Antwerp on December 19. The vessel’s captain was awarded Montreal’s 178th Gold-Headed Cane.

When it was created in 1840, the ceremony saluted the arrival of the first ocean-going vessel that made it through the ice in the spring to reach Montreal. Today, it symbolizes that since 1964 Montreal has been a year round port, with Coast Guard ice-breaker convoys guiding ships when needed during heavy winter weather. In addition, modern containerships with reinforced hulls are deployed on the St. Lawrence trades.

Vachon said the marine tradition was particularly meaningful this year in light of the celebrations of the 375th anniversary of the City of Montreal and the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. “The Port of Montreal is at the heart of these anniversaries and I am certain that our partners feel as strongly about history, as the shipping trade played a leading role in the development of the city and the country.”

Author Photo
Leo Ryan
American Journal of Transportation

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