Intermodal Briefs: Montreal Port Authority, The Port of Virginia

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
(The Port of Virginia)

(The Port of Virginia)

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) releases its 2023 operating results. Also, The Port of Virginia’s holds its annual State of the Port.


MPA President and CEO Julie Gascon, Chair of the Board Nathalie Pilon and Chief Financial and Technology Officer Geneviève Deschamps on May 8 released the Port of Montreal’s 2023 operating results at the annual meeting, held at the MPA head office.

According to MPA, the results show a slight drop in volumes compared with 2022, operating results of $138 million, net earnings of $11 million, “a year distinguished by important achievements in port infrastructure, and firm commitments to sustainable development.”

“Despite fluctuating economic conditions, 2023 was a year of consolidation and significant progress for the Port of Montreal,” said Gascon. “Not only did we maintain our capability to efficiently serve Canada’s supply chain, but we also made meaningful commitments to sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity. These efforts reflect our ongoing commitment to innovation and support for a greener, more resilient economy. As we look to the future, we stay determined to strengthen our leading role in the port sector by optimizing our operations and advancing our expansion in Contrecœur, a major project that guarantees our sustainable contribution to the Canadian economy.”

Cargo Traffic

A total of 35.3 million metric tons of cargo were handled at the Port of Montreal in 2023, down 1.8% compared with last year. This was the outcome of a mixed set of results:

  • The container sector dropped by 8.9%, with 13.1 million metric tons handled and 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
  • The liquid bulk sector, buoyed by the sustained recovery in air travel, rose by 6.8% to 13.9 million metric tons.
  • The dry bulk sector posted a modest decline of 3% to 8.4 million metric tons.
  • The cruise season enjoyed a 33% increase in visitor numbers, with 51,096 passengers and 16,203 crew members over the course of 49 ship calls.

Financial Results and Infrastructure Investments

  • Operating revenues were $138 million in 2023 compared with $134 million in 2022, a 2.8% increase.
  • Expenses totaled $125 million, including $88.9 million excluding amortization.
  • Capital investments for 2023 totaled $74.8 million.
  • With investment income factored in, net income was $11 million.

This, MPA says, means that the Port of Montreal “has sound financial results and maintains an excellent Global S&P rating and outlook of AA/stable, reaffirmed in January 2024.” The MPA also maintains a solid debt service coverage ratio.

Serving the Supply Chain and the Public

In 2023, the MPA inaugurated a few major projects it has been working on for several years. Chief among these was the official inauguration of the Port of Montreal Tower, the culmination of the extensive redevelopment of the former Alexandra Pier, now the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay. Commissioning of the Vickers overpass in the Viau sector and completion of Phase 3 of the rail capacity optimization project “will help improve the fluidity and efficiency of port operations,” according to the MPA, which says it also continued to plan and design its huge expansion project at Contrecœur, “laying the foundations for the future to support the Canadian economy in the long term.” These projects are milestones in the MPA’s mission “to develop, optimize and innovate in the service of the supply chain and the people of Canada.”

Also of note, the 2023-2027 strategic plan was released during the year, outlining the global strategy that the MPA will roll out over the next four years.

The MPA’s Annual Report 2023 can be found here.

Sustainable Development

Turning to sustainable development achievements, MPA says the year 2023 was marked by two commitments that are “key to its objectives, vision and ambitions.” The Port of Montreal aims to achieve carbon neutrality for its own operations by 2035, and to make all operations on its territory carbon neutral by 2050, including GHG emissions produced by logistics companies, as well as by all vessels and trucks. At the same time, the MPA committed to protect 30% of the territory under its management, in compliance with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework ratified at COP15. The MPA will also plant 3,000 trees near its facilities and in the community, while continuing to create a National Wildlife Area on the Boucherville Islands.

In 2023, the MPA emitted 1,976 metric tons of GHG emissions, a 28% decrease since the 2007 baseline year, and a 36% drop in terms of intensity per metric ton handled.

Onwards in 2024

Several milestones are set to be achieved over the course of 2024 in MPA’s major expansion project in Contrecœur. The MPA says it plans to issue an international request for proposals (RFP) to select a private partner to build the terminal, including the container yard, buildings, public utilities and rail connections. “In parallel, compensation plans, monitoring programs and mitigation measures to ensure responsible management of the project’s impacts, under the terms of the positive declaration of decision it obtained for the project, continue to advance,” according to MPA.  The year 2024 will also be distinguished by the opening of Bickerdike Promenade in the Cité-du-Havre sector, the Port of Montreal’s first city-port interface project.

The Port of Virginia

“The Port of Virginia is ready for the future and the investments being made in infrastructure, innovation and capabilities are creating America’s Most Modern Gateway,” said CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority Stephen A. Edwards to nearly 500 attendees of the annual 2024 State of the Port luncheon held on May 9.

In the keynote address, Edwards said the port’s $1.4 billion Gateway Investment Program is “yielding positive results.” In March, the port debuted the widest commercial ship channel on the U.S. East Coast, capable of handling two ultra-large container vessels at once; it just completed a rail capacity expansion; and is the only port in the nation to be powered by 100 % clean energy.

“Today, the state of The Port of Virginia is strong and getting stronger by the day,” Edwards said. “We are proud to lead our industry in innovative solutions that enhance safety, reduce carbon emissions, drive efficiency, decrease operational costs, and add competitive capacity. The future of commerce is underway, right here, right now, with investments and initiatives that are setting new nationwide standards.”

The annual State of the Port event is a collaboration between the port and the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council. The event, the port says, “is an opportunity for the port to help educate decision makers from across the industry, elected officials, economic development leaders, customers and cargo owners—both new and existing—on the benefits of doing business with America’s Most Modern Gateway.”

A copy of Edwards’ remarks and presentation are available for download below.

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