The Port of Montreal has been providing 365-day service since 1964 with the help of icebreakers from the Canadian Coast Guard. Today, advances in technology provide first-rate navigation along its waterway.
The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest inland waterways in the world. Its channel, which is 11.3 metres (37 feet) below the lowest water line (chart datum), is open year-round to all types of ships, including containerships that can carry as many as 4,800 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers.
Real-time access to relevant information
In 2008, an electronic navigation system was established between Montreal and the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The system gives pilots boarding vessels at Les Escoumins access to the Canadian Coast Guard’s MARINFO Internet portal, which provides them with the latest information on waterway conditions, the location of shoals in the channel, navigation warnings, ice flows, etc.
MARINFO is linked to AIS (Automatic Identification System), the international communications system that tracks and monitors a vessel’s exact position and movements on waterways. AIS also forwards real-time information about water levels and tide conditions.
Thanks to the latest electronic navigation, tug pilots along the St. Lawrence River maneuver easily and safely when approaching vessels in shallow depths and in near-zero visibility.
The next improvement to the port’s electronic navigation will be the real-time three-dimensional mapping of the waterway bed to maximize maneuverability in shallow depths.