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June 11 2018

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June 11 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 17 www.joc.com Canada Shipping and Trade Cover Story Special Report THE PORT OF Quebec's plan to build and bring online a C$400 million ($310 million) container terminal within three years is the latest green- field project in eastern Canada aiming to attract mega-ships, spurring ques- tions not just about its feasibility but also about the long-term future of the port of Montreal, which can handle ships of only 5,000 TEU. In the meantime, Montreal's ship limitation isn't stopping Maersk Line from starting a new service connecting the port and Halifax to the Mediterranean, and the Far East via transshipment hubs. Trans-Atlantic volume to and from North Europe and the Mediterranean in the first quarter rose 7 percent through Montreal and 2.8 percent through Halifax compared to the same period a year ago. The Quebec Port Authority still sees a long-term play with a contain- er terminal, with an initial annual capacity of 500,000 TEU, provid- ing shippers moving goods to and from the Great Lakes region and US Midwest with cheaper transits than afforded through Montreal, starting in early 2022. The Quebec port, which used to handle containers, lost that business in the 1980s after CP Ships, later acquired by Hapag-Lloyd, shifted routing to Montreal. Pointing to Prince Rupert's success on the west coast in attracting US and Canadian shippers via the Canadian National Railway line, Quebec sees similar potential for itself. Don Krusel, who built the Prince would add the terminal to services calling at Saint John, Halifax, and New York-New Jersey, port spokes- man Alain Sans Cartier said. A service more likely would call at Quebec solely or call at Montreal after unloading freight in Quebec so that it could pass through the shallower segment of the Saint Lawrence River. Thanks to its 15-meter (49-foot) draft, the Quebec terminal would be able to handle ships of up to 15,000 TEU, although the workhorses will likely be in the 8,000- to 10,000- TEU range, Cartier told The Journal of Commerce. Container lines' ability to deploy larger ships on the Saint Lawrence River will reduce slot costs by up to 40 percent compared with those achieved through services to Montreal, the largest eastern Canadian port and the country's second-largest behind Vancouver, he said. Because of draft limitations, the largest ship Montreal can handle is slightly more than 5,000 TEU, said Tony Boemi, vice president of growth and development at the Rupert franchise as its longtime CEO, is advising the project. CN has direct access to the port of Quebec via switching line, and Canadian Pacific Railway has access via a short-line connecting through Mon- treal. It's unclear, however, whether the railroads would risk cannibaliz- ing volume flowing through other eastern Canadian ports — unless shippers were requesting to move goods through Quebec. Services targeted Quebec port officials aim to attract trans-Atlantic and Asia services routed via the Suez Canal. The roughly 1,000 nautical miles between the port and the Atlantic Ocean make it unlikely that carriers Maersk wagers on Montreal despite port's dra limit By Mark Szakonyi Port of Quebec's container bet Shutterstock.com

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