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Canadian Federal Government Funds Montreal’s New Container Terminal

Port of Montreal new container terminal
Rendering of the new container terminal that will be located to the east of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River (Port of Montreal)

Published Oct 10, 2023 7:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

Canada’s federal government is providing financial support to the project to build a new container terminal to serve Montreal and the surrounding areas in the province of Quebec and eastern Canada. The project is designed to increase the Port of Montréal's container capacity to meet the growing need for cargo transportation and will receive funding as part of the federal government’s efforts to ensure the country’s supply chain remains strong and is responding to changes.

The Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant, Pablo Rodriguez, announced an investment of up to C$150 million (US$110 million) under the National Trade Corridors Fund to build a new container terminal for the Montréal Port Authority. Previously, in 2021 the Government of Quebec also committed C$55 million (US$40 million) in financial assistance to the Montreal Port Authority toward its expansion project.

"The Port of Montreal is an economic driver for the province of Quebec and Montreal, and a key element of our national supply chain,” said Minister Rodriguez. “By supporting the port in its expansion project, we continue our efforts to strengthen Canada's supply chain. This is important so that we never again have to go through product shortages like we experienced during the pandemic, or the significant price increases that came along with them. "

The plan for the construction of the new terminal includes an approximately 2,200-foot dock, including approach areas for ships. It will be located in the city of Contrecoeur, which is on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River approximately 40 miles northeast of Montreal. 

The terminal will include a rail network connecting to the existing Canadian National Railway tracks, including a railway transfer point and freight transfer hub as well as road access and a container handling yard. When completed, this project will increase the total capacity of the Port of Montreal by 55 percent.

In 2021, the Port of Montreal’s expansion plan received a favorable Decision Statement from Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, allowing the project to proceed. Port executives report that they will now proceed with a hybrid approach. The port authority will act as the prime contractor for the marine work phase, which includes dock construction and dredging work.

The port authority plans to issue a Request for Proposals in early 2024 to select a private partner to build the terminal. This will include the work for the container yard, buildings, facilities, and rail connection. When completed the new terminal at Contrecoeur will be able to handle up to 1.15 million containers annually.

The Port of Montreal is the only container terminal in Quebec. Overall, it is the second largest port in Canada with a diversified transshipment center that handles all types of goods including containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk, and dry bulk, and also has a cruise ship terminal.