2013 : the post-panamax year
On December 6, the Port of Montreal welcomed the largest petroleum tanker to have ever visited the port: the MT Overseas Portland, an Aframax vessel that sailed from St. James, Louisiana, carrying 475,000 barrels of crude oil.
The NS Leader, a 44 meter-wide oil tanker, visited the Port of Montreal last August.
The crude oil was delivered to the Suncor Refinery in the east end of Montreal. “A larger ship capable of carrying a higher tonnage is an attractive economic lever for us,” said Kris Smith, Executive Vice-President, Refining and Marketing at Suncor.
The visit by the Overseas Portland to Montreal was made possible by the Canadian Coast Guard’s decision to authorize, as of May 2013, vessels with a maximum width of 44 metres in the Quebec-Montreal section of the St. Lawrence navigation channel, up from the previously authorized width of 32.1 metres without restriction.
Specifically, the new provisions make it possible for all post-Panamax-type vessels, including container ships that can carry 6,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) to call the Port of Montreal. To date the Port of Montreal has been visited by seven post-Panamax tankers, including four Aframax vessels.
A study commissioned by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) and jointly conducted with Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Laurentian Pilotage Authority and the Corporation of Central St. Lawrence Pilots certified that all the criteria enabling safe navigation of post-Panamax vessels to the Port of Montreal were met.