CargoM and the creation of a metropolitan logistics cluster


CargoM, the Logistics and Transportation Metropolitan Cluster of Montreal, is working to help implement a logistics cluster in the Greater Montreal region.

CargoM’s mission is to bring together all stakeholders in the region’s logistics and freight transportation sector to work on shared goals and take concerted action to further improve collaboration, competitiveness and growth, and to extend the sector’s reach.

Its vision is to make Greater Montreal a renowned multimodal hub that is sought after for its operational and environmental performance and contributes to its business partners’ competitiveness and the economic development of the Quebec region.

CargoM's mission is to bring together all stakeholders in the region's
logistics and freight transportation sector to work on shared goals.

“We consider the concept of a logistics cluster as a structural tool that is essential for economic development,” said Mathieu Charbonneau, executive director of CargoM.

“The Greater Montreal region has a concentration of all transport modes, strong and efficient intermodal connections, expertise in the logistics and transportation sector, and is gateway for cargo into North America. In short, all the components are in place to improve fluidity and communications in the metropolitan area, which will benefit the economy not only of Montreal but Quebec as a whole.”

Maritime Strategy

The Government of Quebec’s new Maritime Strategy calls for the development of the Greater Montreal region as one of the major North American hubs for trade logistics in goods handling.

In this vein, the logistics cluster would benefit from the new Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union. The Port of Montreal, with its strategic location between the world’s two largest economic blocs – the EU and NAFTA – already is the leading port on the North American East Coast for trade between Northern Europe and North America’s industrial heartland.

Established in late 2012, CargoM has launched developmental projects that promote Montreal as a logistics and freight transportation hub and introduce best practices and leading-edge technologies.

6 working groups

The CargoM team: Karine Dudognon, administrative assistant, Mathieu Charbonneau, executive director,
Magali Amiel, senior project manager, and Gabriel Descôteaux-Simard, project manager. on June 18,
at the Grands prix d'excellence awards gala held by the Association québécoise du transport et des routes
(AQTr), CargoM earned a pair of awards. The 2014 Prix Transport de marchandises honours the project
of the creation of the cluster. The Prix Distinction is an honorary award in recognition of a major project.

Its six working groups are dedicated to developing actions on the cluster’s priority issues, and these actions already are yielding concrete results. The working groups are:

1. Logistics and Transportation Development Opportunities
2. Communication and Outreach
3. Access and Fluidity for Truck Transportation in Greater Montreal
4. Best Practices and Technology
5. Regulations
6. Human Resources/Workforce

Working Group I is paving the way to take stock of Greater Montreal’s logistics and transportation sector and come up with perspectives and opportunities for development. Its mandate is to provide cluster’s members with tools and measures to become more competitive and to enhance their contribution to the region’s economic development.

The working group organized a technical workshop in February with international players on the concept of a logistics hub. It has identified keys to the cluster’s success as:

Vision and leadership: The project needs a long-term vision that is accepted by the community as a whole and involves private sector participation.

Collaboration: The project must take advantage of the strengths of public, private and academic stakeholders and create a one-stop shopping portal for potential investors.

A conducive business environment: Public financing and fiscal incentives are required.

Based on these keys to success, the working group is currently working to develop the ‘CargoM model,’ which revolves around collaboration and the creation of tools to help promote a logistics cluster for the Greater Montreal region. Priorities are:

Multi-sites: CargoM says a multi-site logistics cluster would provide greater flexibility to the supply chain while allowing greater distribution of economic benefits throughout the region. It also offers the possibility of access to different types of markets and cargo.

Education: The Greater Montreal region has training centres at the high school to university levels, and qualified and competent labour. Partnerships would be established to ensure that training programs respond to business needs.

Economy: Different sites would develop at their own pace and follow their specific needs. They would provide direct economic benefits and stimulate jobs in the areas in which they are based and the Greater Montreal region as a whole.

Collaboration, unity and stability

CargoM’s common strategy includes the creation of a neutral strategic committee that would supervise the implementation of the CargoM model, and the establishment of developmental and communications tools that would help develop sites and promote the cluster on national and international levels. Collaboration, unity and stability would be the cornerstones for promoting the cluster.

For its model, CargoM has researched and classified best practices, and studied in-depth the logistics cluster of Savannah, Georgia.

In June, a delegation from Quebec that included Mr. Charbonneau and Port of Montreal President and CEO Sylvie Vachon and Vice-President of Strategy and Human Resources Serge Auclair visited the Port of Savannah to study its logistics cluster model. The port has developed impressive logistics parks adjacent to its territory, creating a port-centric logistics cluster.

“Our hosts generously shared their experience with us and were a great source of inspiration,” said Ms. Vachon, who played an instrumental role in the launch of CargoM and is currently the organization’s chair. “Obviously, every port has its own reality. Our goal is not to fully transpose the Savannah model here but instead to capture the essence and adapt it to our social, geographic, environmental and economic context.  

“The Savannah logistics cluster is a community of vision and values that transcend individual interests. It is more than a business strategy; it’s a business culture. It is a culture that we are determined to implement here with, of course, its own Montreal flavour.”

“Savannah and Montreal have many similarities,” added Mr. Charbonneau. “The Savannah logistics cluster has multiple sites, something we view as an advantage for the Montreal region. Savannah and Montreal both have business, civil and academic communities, companies with expertise in the logistics and transportation sector, and public and private entities that can collaborate and offer a clear and evolving value proposition to clients and potential clients of the logistics cluster of Greater Montreal.”

For further information about CargoM