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Press release

Montreal, January 3, 2019 — Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO Sylvie Vachon was pleased to award the famous Gold-Headed Cane to Volodymyr Yurchenko, a Ukraine national, Master of the Virginiaborg, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2019. The Virginiaborg left the Port of Porsgrunn in Norway on December 20. It crossed the Port of Montreal’s limits on January 2 at 3:50 a.m. Like every year, awarding the Gold-Headed Cane marks the start of a new year of activity at the Port of Montreal… This has been a port tradition since 1840!

 “It was a great pleasure for us to present this year’s Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Volodymyr Yurchenko who, at the helm of the Virginiaborg, was the first to cross the limits of the Port of Montreal. We are proud to continue a tradition as emblematic of our history and the rich heritage connecting Montreal to its river. But the traditions do not prevent us from being resolutely forward-looking. More than ever, the Port of Montreal is in the lead as an innovative port that adapts emerging technologies to port logistics,” said Ms. Vachon.

The Virginiaborg, under the command of Captain Volodymyr Yurchenko, is a bulk carrier operated by Wagenborg Shipping and represented in Montreal by the Lower St-Lawrence Ocean Agencies Ltd. It docked early yesterday morning at Berth 42 at the terminal operated by Logistec. The Virginiaborg will stay for a few days, the time it takes to unload an unusual cargo: thousands of tonnes of ferromanganese, a material we do not often receive that is mainly used for the design and manufacture of high quality, ultra-resistant steel.

Preliminary Results

As it does every year, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) took this occasion to announce its preliminary (unaudited) statistics for 2018. This year was marked by a new record in the container sector with a total of 1.6 million containers handled, a 9% increase compared to last year. In total, 39 million tonnes of goods were handled in 2018, an increase of 2.5% over last year. Which means that the total volume of cargo handled at the Port of Montreal broke another record, for the fifth consecutive year! 

The cruise sector also made its mark with record-breaking numbers in 2018: Montreal welcomed close to 127,000 passengers and crew members, up 11% over the previous year.

This growth translates into major economic benefits for Montreal, Quebec and Canada. We are proud to announce that our most recent study on the Port’s economic benefits confirms the growing positive impact of our activities on collective wealth. The Port of Montreal generates close to $2.6 billion in impact on Canadian GDP, representing a 23% increase over the last economic impact assessment conducted in 2014. This also represents more than 19,000 jobs created or maintained in the various sectors of activity (a 19% increase in 5 years), tax revenues of more than $300 million (a 24% increase) and more than $1.1 billion invested directly in the economy through wages and the purchase of goods and services.

In the presence of many representatives of the marine industry and Montreal’s business community, as well as political figures—including Angelo Iacono, Member of Parliament for Alfred-Pellan, and representative of the Government of Canada; Chantal Rouleau, Deputy Minister for Transport of Quebec and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal Region; and Robert Beaudry, responsible for economic development on the City of Montreal’s Executive Committee—,the Montreal Port Authority recognized the work of the pilots of the Corporation of Mid St. Lawrence, Pilots Simon Lebrun and Dominic Audy, who safely guided the ship to port.

Innovation and major future projects

The Gold-Headed Cane presentation ceremony was also an occasion to review the highlights of 2018 at the Port.

These include progress on the new Contrecœur Terminal, notably through participation in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s public hearings and the creation of a new vice-president position.

In June 2018, the inauguration of the Grand Quay of the Port of Montreal was an important move in the progress of the Port’s community relations, as it was the first time that the Port opened its spaces to the public.  

Furthermore, throughout 2018, the Port of Montreal confirmed its place and role as a smart port in the forefront of a rapidly changing marine industry, through several innovation highlights.

About the Port of Montreal

Operated by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montreal is the second largest port in Canada and a diversified transshipment centre that handles all types of goods: containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk. The only container port in Quebec, it is a destination port served by the largest shipping lines in the world. It is also an intermodal hub with a service offering that is unique in North America, featuring its own rail network directly dockside connected to Canada’s two national rail networks. The MPA also operates a Cruise Terminal and a Port Centre.

The MPA factors economic, social and environmental components into its corporate initiatives. This commitment is governed by a sustainable development policy whose guiding principles focus on involvement, cooperation and accountability. Port activity supports 19,000 jobs and generates $2.6 billion in economic benefits annually.