Annual General Meeting of the Montreal Port Authority: The upturn in traffics contributes to growth in 2010

MONTREAL, May 26, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Total traffic at the Port of Montreal reached 25.9 million tonnes of cargo in 2010, up 5.7% over 2009, it was learned Thursday at the Annual General Meeting of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA). Every sector of cargo handled at the Port of Montreal experienced growth.

In 2010, the volume of containerized goods handled at the Port of Montreal climbed to 12.3 million tonnes compared to 11.3 million tonnes in 2009, a 6.8% increase. In terms of the number of TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers, the Port handled slightly more than 1.33 million containers in 2010 compared to 1.24 million in 2009, a 6.7% increase. Traffic with the Mediterranean was the engine of growth in the containerized cargo section with an increase in volume upwards of 33% in 2010. "This reflects the importance of hub ports in the Mediterranean that receive cargo from Southeast Asia via the Suez Canal, and that we are in business with," stated Ms. Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montreal Port Authority. Traffic between the Port of Montreal and the Mediterranean is ensured by three weekly services: the Joint Canada-Mediterranean Service (JCMS) from the shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd and Hanjin and the Canada Express and CanCas services from Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

Deliveries of petroleum products, including jet fuel, fuel oil and gasoline, were the key factors in the overall rise of 4.9% posted in the liquid bulk sector. The liquid bulk market reached 8.15 million tonnes in 2010.

Turning to dry bulk, the recovery in the areas of iron ore, zinc, fertilizers, and the receipt of grain by rail and trucks largely contributed to the overall increase of 5.1% posted in this sector. The dry bulk market has reached 5.58 million tonnes.

Lastly, on the cruise front, the Iberville passenger terminal welcomed 48,458 passengers and crew members in 2010, a 1.9% increase over the previous year.

Higher profits before restructuring costs

In 2010, MPA management continued to control its operating expenses. These expenses dropped from $83.7 million in 2009 to $83 million in 2010, despite inflation.

The upturn in traffics at the Port contributed to the MPA's higher income, which rose to $92.3 million in 2010: $88.5 million in operating revenue and $3.8 million in financial revenue.

This enabled the MPA to achieve Net Earnings before Restructuring expense of $9.3 million compared to $6.3 million in 2009, an almost 50% increase.

However, to maximize the performance of its grain elevator, in 2010 the MPA decided to transfer its operations management to a private operator as of July 1, 2011. This transfer entails non-recurring restructuring costs of approximately $18 million, which were charged to the 2010 fiscal year. Consequently, the 2010 financial results show a net loss of $8.6 million. "We are confident that the various actions taken in 2010 are paving the way to a return to profitability in 2011," stated Ms. Vachon.

Infrastructure investments

On the infrastructure front, in 2010 the MPA invested $41.2 million, including a first tranche of $5.2 million from the federal government via its Infrastructure Stimulus Fund to improve the efficiency of Port facilities and to meet tenants' needs. Three major projects were undertaken: the extension of a pier at CAST Terminal; increased capacity of the Port's electrical network; and the installation of a common entry portal for trucks. "All these projects are aimed at improving the Port's efficiency in the transportation logistics chain so that the Port remains the gateway of choice to North America", concluded Ms. Vachon.

For his part, Mr. Michel M. Lessard, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Montreal Port Authority, concentrated his remarks on the new Sustainable Development Policy, approved by the Board in 2010 and formalizing the MPA's commitment to sustainable development. "Sustainable development has become a strategic dimension of our activities. It allows us to keep contributing to the collective wealth while carrying out our operations in harmony with the communities," concluded Mr. Lessard.

About the Port of Montreal
Operated by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montreal is a major diversified transshipment centre that handles all types of goods - containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk, including grain. It is a leading container port served by seven of the ten largest container shipping lines in the world.  More than 1.33 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were handled at the Port of Montreal in 2010, representing 12.03 million tonnes of cargo.

The Port also handled 8.15 million tonnes of liquid bulk, 3.20 million tonnes of dry bulk, and 2.38 million tonnes of grain in 2010.

The Port of Montreal owns its own rail network, operated directly on the piers. It is connected to the two nationwide railways and a highway system. The Port also operates a marine passenger terminal that welcomed 48,180 passengers and crew members in 2010. All the other terminals are operated by private firms. Port activity supports 18,200 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic spin-offs per year.


For further information:

Yves Gilson
Communications Advisor
Tel.: 514 283-7050
Fax: 514 283-0829

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