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Press release

Montreal, January 1, 2023 — On January 1, 2023, at 0:05 a.m., the MSC Donata was the first ocean-going vessel of the year 2023 to cross the Port of Montreal’s downstream limit at Sorel without a stopover. True to a tradition that dates back more than 180 years, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is awarding the Gold-headed Cane to its Captain, Singh Ranjit Kumar.

The MSC Donata crew
From left to right: Jean-François Belzile (MPA), Julien Dubreuil (Termont), Daniel Dagenais (MPA), Stéphane Morency (MSC), Captain Singh Ranjit Kumar, Martin Imbleau (MPA) and Badr Laklae, (MSC)..

The MSC Donata left the port of Sines, Portugal on December 23, 2022. The Panama-flagged MSC ship carries thousands of containers containing everyday commodities and useful materials for businesses and citizens of Quebec, Ontario and the Midwest. The ship ended its journey at the Viau terminal operated by Termont in section 48 of the Port of Montreal. The MSC Donata will be back at sea in a few days with containers ready for export to Marsaxlokk, Malta.

Not for the first time in Montreal, Captain Singh Ranjit Kumar said he was honoured to receive for the first time the Gold-headed Cane, at the end of a crossing that went well, despite some moments of rougher seas in the ocean portion of the journey. Winning such a precious award itself is a big achievement and this is a lifelong memorable event for him and his entire team of MSC Donata but most importantly, its winning together. Born in India, Captain Kumar knew from a young age that he would like to sail on board of those big ships that serves the communities. He began his journey at sea at the age of 22 and joined MSC in 2005.

The Gold-Headed Cane engraved with the name of the winning captain and the ship’s name was presented on the dock by Martin Imbleau, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montreal Port Authority, during a ceremony at the terminal that was once again attended by a select group of guests and media, after two years behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

Mr. Imbleau said he was “delighted to continue this prestigious tradition that is the pride of ship masters and crews.”

“The fact that we could do it again in person added to the solemnity and made it possible to pay tribute to these women and men, thanks to whom the goods and commodities reach their destination under sometimes difficult conditions,” he added.

The Montreal Port Authority would also like to acknowledge the work of the pilots of the Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central, Alain Arsenault and Manon Turcotte who steered the vessel to port.


Preliminary results for 2022: Port of Montreal experiences 5.4% growth

As the new year gets underway, the MPA is releasing preliminary (unaudited) results for 2022. Activities and cargo volumes handled at the Port of Montreal remain closely linked to global economic trends. After two years marked by declines in cargo volumes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Montreal posted a 5.4 gain in volumes over last year with a total of 35.9 million tonnes of cargo transiting through Port facilities in 2022.

“The Port of Montreal, your port, is doing fine, as evidenced by the encouraging preliminary results for 2022,” said Mr. Imbleau. In the great disruption caused by the pandemic, we all became aware of the existence and importance of supply chains and the need to restructure them. The Port of Montreal and its partners can help make this possible, specifically with the development of our major container terminal project in Contrecoeur.”  

The container sector saw a slight increase of 1.2% with 14.4 million tons handled.

With the recovery in movements, the liquid bulk sector enjoyed a net increase of 10.5% over 2021 with 13 million tonnes handled.

The dry bulk sector posted a 3.2% to 8.1 million tonnes. The grain sector has seen a strong recovery with an increase of 18.7% after a difficult 2021 due to droughts. The 2022 crop is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years.

Finally, miscellaneous and non-containerized commodities totalled 0.4 million tons, up nearly 90% from 2021.

The year 2022 was also marked by the return of cruises to Montreal, after two consecutive seasons cancelled due to health restrictions. This first post-pandemic season has been encouraging: our terminals welcomed more than 37,000 passengers.

Please note that these preliminary results will be audited and officially released in their entirety at the MPA’s annual meeting in May.

2023 01 01 canne crew


About the Gold-Headed Cane tradition

The Gold-Headed Cane is awarded to the master of the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in the new year. Until 1964, the Gold-Headed Cane was presented in the spring to herald the resumption of navigation, as Montreal was cut off from the world during the long winter months. Since the advent of icebreakers, which allow year-round navigation, the cane has been awarded to the master of the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port without a stopover at the start of each year. It is a trophy long coveted by the captains of many countries. 

To learn more about this great Port of Montreal tradition click here: Gold-Headed Cane

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.

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