Select your language

Press release

Montreal, January 1, 2022 — True to a tradition dating back over 180 years, the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is awarding the Gold-Headed Cane again this year. The 2022 edition is awarded to Captain Felino D’Souza of the ship Quebec Express of the Hapag-Lloyd shipping line,the first ocean-going vessel to cross the Port of Montreal’s downstream limit at Sorel without a stopover at 00:21 a.m.

L'équipage du Quebec Express
The Quebec Express crew

“We are proud to maintain this tradition which, more than ever, showcases the importance of seafarers and the shipping sector, a public service that never rests despite storms of all kinds,” said MPA President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Imbleau. “Though the pandemic and health regulations prevented us from celebrating Captain D’Souza’s victory in person, I offer my heartiest congratulations to him and the crew of the Quebec Express!” 

Of Indian origin, Captain D’Souza, himself the son of a sailor, has 27 years of experience at sea, including 16 as Captain. Since his first day at sea, he has been sailing for Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, which manages a fleet of Hapag-Lloyd vessels. 

This moment has a special meaning for him, as it is the birthday of his wife, Vylona Jessy, to whom he will give the Gold-headed Cane as a gift.

The Quebec Express left the Port of Hamburg in Germany on December 19. The 12-day voyage ended at the Port of Montreal’s MGTP Cast Terminal very early this morning. The crew encountered a few storms in the North Atlantic Ocean, one of which forced them to change their initial route. Otherwise, they experienced no other unexpected surprises and had a pleasant Christmas together. 

The Quebec Express is a container ship carrying everyday products destined for businesses and citizens of Quebec and Canada, as well as goods useful in the fight against the pandemic, identified and prioritized by the Cargo2.ai port system. The ship will leave in a few days, loaded with exports that will make Canadian companies shine in the four corners of the world. 

The MPA also commends the work of Patrick Fortin and Lee Belhumeur from the Corporation of Mid St. Lawrence Pilots, who safely steered the vessel to port.


Preliminary results for 2021

At the start of this new year, the MPA is releasing preliminary (unaudited) results for 2021. Impacted again this year by the COVID-19 pandemic and the dockworkers’ strike, cargo volumes handled at the Port of Montreal remained relatively stable compared to 2020. 

In total, 33.9 million tonnes of cargo passed through Port facilities in 2021, a 3.5% decrease. Despite the dockworkers’ strike curbed the anticipated growth following the economic recovery, the container sector nevertheless experienced a recovery with a total of 1.7 million TEUs containers (+ 7.3%). Due to the ongoing pandemic in 2021, the liquid bulk sector decreased by 5.4% to 11.7 million tonnes. The dry bulk sector was down 7.3% to 7.8 million tonnes, as droughts in Western Canada affected grain volumes.

Lastly, the cruise season was entirely cancelled in compliance with directives issued by the Government of Canada. 

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


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.


About the Gold-Headed Cane

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 at the start of each year. It has always been a trophy coveted by the captains of many countries. 

To learn more about this great Port of Montreal tradition click here : 

— 30 —