Container traffic leads growth at Montreal port

MONTREAL — Buoyed by a sharp increase in container traffic, the Montreal Port Authority’s (MPA) consolidated traffic volumes reached a record high in 2007.

Container traffic increased by 3.6 percent to 26 million tonnes in 2007, an increase of 912,091 tonnes from 2006.

“We are pleased with our performance,” said Patrice M. Pelletier, president and CEO of the MPA. “My team and I are now focused on finding innovative and proactive ways to accelerate growth, and we anticipate that containers will be the cornerstone of an overall strategy that helps the port remain our clients’ preferred choice on the North American East coast.”

The general cargo category, which includes containerized and non-containerized cargo, is the principal sector of activity. Volumes in this category reached 12.7 million tonnes, posting an increase of 892,095 tonnes.

Containerized cargo drove much of the increase in this sector, as traffic rose sharply to attain 12.4 million tonnes, slightly more than 1 million tonnes – the equivalent of 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

Several shipping lines that transported containers via the port last year experienced robust activity. Certain lines added additional ships to service particular routes, and some increased their carrying capacity by using larger ships.

In 2007, the liquid bulk category composed of petroleum, liquid asphalt, ethanol, and wines and various alcohols, continued to make gains as it registered its best performance since 1984. While petroleum traffic softened slightly, 73,800 tonnes of ethanol moved through the port for the first time last year.

The introduction of this new product coupled with an increase in diesel and hydrocarbons traffic, and a 250,000 tonnes rise in heating oil volume caused overall traffic volumes in this category to reach 7.9 million tonnes, rising by 134,290 tonnes.

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