In April 2008, the Port of Montreal launched a 12 year CDN$2.5 billion strategic development plan to triple its container handling capacity from approximately 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually to approximately 4.5 million TEUs by 2020. As a result of the projected growth in container traffic, the need to adequately inspect this increasing quantity of cargo passing through the Port represents a unique opportunity for U.S. companies capable of providing port and maritime security products and/or services to the Canadian market.
Port of Montreal Vision 2020 Project
The Vision 2000 project will be completed over four phases. Phase I, to be completed by 2011, will increase operational efficiency at existing facilities. Phase II will expand existing sites for maximum storage capacity by 2013. Phase III, to be completed by 2016, will focus on the building of new container facilities and increase container handling capacity to 3.5 million TEUs. The fourth and final phase will boost container handling capacity to 4.5 million TEUs by 2020.
Recent changes allowing the Federal Government to invest in ports have enabled the Port of Montreal authorities to apply for CDN$650 million of federal funding by tapping into the Federal Government’s economic stimulus fund. The availability of federal funds for Canadian ports will greatly help Port of Montreal authorities to ensure the success of this strategic development plan by reducing the amount of investment required from private investors and from the port itself.
The Port of Montreal enjoys a competitive advantage over other eastern North American ports due to its shorter transit times to Europe as well as rapid rail links into the continent. The Port of Montreal serves one of the most important consumer base in North America, which lies along the Montreal-Chicago corridor, assuring its role in the future as a vital route for the delivery of goods to this region.
As a lead pioneer in the implementation of safety measures, the Port of Montreal was the first seaport installation to meet ISPS standards, and its security plans have set the standard for the rest of Canada. Several of its security initiatives include safeguarding and protecting marine infrastructure, securing Canadian ports including waterside security, implementation of the IMO’s International Ship and Port Facilities Security (ISPS) Code, container security, domain awareness, and increased on-water response capabilities.
By Connie Irrera and Robert Tesolin