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Port of Montreal files eco-impact assessment of Contrecoeur container project

2018-02-01

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

At a technical briefing on February 1, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) presented its $650 million container terminal project at Contrecoeur, some 40 kms away on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River as the findings were released of an environmental impact assessment report. The latter had just been made public by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and will be the subject of public consultation organized by the CEAA, including information sessions from February 27 to March 1.

As the only container port in Québec and the largest port in Eastern Canada, the Port of Montreal is planning its future development to support growth to remain competitive with the large American ports that are investing about $9 billion in their infrastructures to notably handle larger containerships.

"This additional port space that will become the Contreoeur container terminal will make it possible to support the growth of this business segment and make the most of the economic and commercial opportunities arising from emerging markets, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the Québec Maritime Strategy," said Daniel Dagenais, Vice-President, Operations and head of the project at the MPA.

 

 

While highlighting such benefits as the creation of about 1,000 jobs and additional revenues, the report produced by SNC-Lavalin singled out a number of potential environmental impacts on local wildlife as well as the effect of some 2,000 trucks daily calling at the terminal. Banks would be eroded and several hectares of wetlands would be lost during construction. And dredging work on the riverbed would have a "strong" impact in terms of loss of habitat for the Western chorus frog and the copper redhorse fish regarded as endangered species.

The MPA has been handling containers for more than 50 years and growth has been nonstop in this business segment. The Viau container terminal, commissioned in 2016, is tangible proof of this sustained growth. When completed, the Viau terminal will bring the Port's total container handling capacity to 2.1 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) on the Island of Montreal.

Currently handling 1.5 million TEUs annually, the Port of Montreal's throughput is expected to reach 2.5 million TEUs by 2030 as trade expands. Main markets are Québec, Ontario and the U.S. Midwest.

It is estimated that existing facilities will attain saturation point to meet demand by 2022. Upon final regulatory approval, the first phase of the Contrecoeur Maritime Terminal Expansion project provides for completion between 2023 and 2025, adding capacity of 1.15 million TEUs.

For several years, the MPA has been planning a container terminal on its land in Contreoeur, a land reserve it acquired between 1988 and 1992. This is a strategic location for container handling because of its favourable geometry, nearby rail and road networks and the proximity of the markets it serves. In addition to providing flexibility to meet long-term needs, the target site is located in a non-urban area with space available for industrial and logistics development.

 

 
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