Open letter by Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority, published following the recent interview with Jean-Philippe Décarie in La Presse.
As a recognized Canadian champion of growth, Montreal can and must maintain this enviable title. On the occasion of the C2 Mtl business event and the Relaunch Montreal Metropolitan Economic Movement, this is an invitation not only to the business community, but also to the transport and logistics industry, which can loudly and clearly affirm Montreal’s status as a hub of excellence in this field.
Over the years, demographics as well as geography have made Greater Montreal the gateway to North America’s industrial heartland. This coveted positioning was anchored by the development of recognized expertise in transport logistics. Goods from or to European, American, Asian, African or Caribbean markets transit the interior of the continent by waterway. By maximizing the shipping segment, companies reduce the carbon footprint per kilometre covered. This dynamic is all the more so now that 80% of world trade is conducted by shipping and the widening of the Suez Canal enables faster access to markets that were previously inaccessible from Montreal. To better serve local businesses, especially those wishing to benefit the most from free trade agreements and an expanded market of about 1.5 billion consumers, our supply chain partners formed CargoM, the Logistics and Transportation Metropolitan Cluster of Montreal, a springboard for development that has led to numerous intermodal collaborations.
It is no coincidence that our ecosystem is recognized around the world, especially when it comes to smart ports. There is an extraordinary concentration of talent and capital here as well as a critical mass of economic activity, explaining the presence of infrastructures and institutions that are among the world’s best. It is these assets that give life to the 6,300 companies in the transport and logistics sector and the 134,000 jobs in this ecosystem. As a result, the fundamentals of a hub of excellence in intelligent transport and logistics are well established and the future is promising. Having both an exceptional artificial intelligence ecosystem and a unique know-how in the electrification of transport opens countless opportunities that will benefit not only Greater Montreal, but also all of Quebec.
While an international port is a strategic instrument of trade and an economic generator of prosperity and innovation, it is only one link in the chain. Sustainable growth cannot be achieved without an ecosystem of players and a sizeable regional market to make user companies highly competitive. Leveraging our status as an intermodal hub will make it possible for all businesses in Quebec, Ontario and Eastern Canada to benefit from rates that make possible a critical mass of services serving the same port. This pooling of our strengths, particularly in Contrecoeur, in the Montérégie region, where we have been planning our expansion for years, is also an opportunity to give researchers and marine industry workers an excellent showcase of the know-how in electrification of transport and exemplary infrastructure projects developed with respect for the environment and host communities.
Following six consecutive years of record traffic and a cumulative growth rate almost double that of competing ports, Montreal and its Port are in full swing. Despite the global pandemic, the Port of Montreal has shown exceptional resilience. Montreal’s leadership in intelligent solutions sets the stage for us to build on this solid foundation. By increasing such collaborative initiatives as developing an algorithm to rapidly distribute critical cargo to the healthcare sector, by accelerating the use of technologies to electrically power the supply chain, and by expanding our activities in Contrecoeur, our status as a hub of excellence in intelligent transport and logistics is contributing to Greater Montreal’s excellent performance. It is also an outstanding lever to spur a sustainable economic recovery.
Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO, Montreal Port Authority