MONTREAL — Montreal Port Authority (MPA) President and CEO Sylvie Vachon officially inaugurated the start of a new year of activity at the Port of Montreal today by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Deepinder Singh, of India, master of the Mississauga Express, the first ocean-going vessel to enter the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2013. The Mississauga Express left the Port of Lisboa, in Portugal, on December 24. It crossed the Port of Montreal's limits on January 3 at 1:12 a.m. Her arrival highlights the fact that the Port of Montreal is open year-round to all transoceanic vessels.
The 174th Gold-Headed Cane ceremony brought together numerous representatives of the maritime industry and Montreal's business community. The event also allowed the MPA to recognize the work of Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central pilots Onil Jean and Jacques Vigneault who brought the vessel safely into port.
The Bermuda-registered container-ship is 245 metres long. Shipping line Hapag-Lloyd operates the vessel, which entered service in 1998. It is docked at RacineTerminal, operated by Montreal Gateway Terminals Partnership.
Another good year for the Port of Montreal
The economic slowdown in the majority of western countries had an effect on cargo transportation activities in 2012. "Despite the difficult world economic context, the Port still managed to maintain its cargo-handling volumes at 28.4 million tonnes, according to preliminary estimates, compared to our record-setting total of 28.5 million tonnes in 2011. Under the circumstances, we can certainly say that we performed quite well," Ms. Vachon said.
During her speech, Ms. Vachon paid tribute to Mariners' House of Montreal, which has just celebrated its 150th anniversary. Mariners' House welcomes seafarers from around the world when their vessels are docked in port. "This organization recreates for these men and women a family atmosphere that is both warm and welcoming. It's a home away from home for seafarers who are separated from their families for long periods of time," Ms. Vachon said.
To highlight the anniversary, and in recognition of the care that Mariners' House provides to seafarers while they are in Montreal, the Port of Montreal distributed 1,300 specially made tuques to mariners who visited the Port during the month of December. Port of Montreal partners also purchased some 812 tuques. Profits from those sales, totalling $3,248, went directly to Mariners' House.
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. It is a leading container port served by the largest container shipping lines in the world. In 2011, 1,362,975 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were handled at the Port of Montreal, representing 12,471,002 tonnes of cargo.
The Port also handled 10,760,649 tonnes of liquid bulk, 3,431,811 tonnes of dry bulk, and 1,741,035 tonnes of grain in 2011.
The Port of Montreal has its own rail network directly dockside. It is connected to the two national rail networks and a highway system. The Port operates a passenger terminal that welcomed 38,031 passengers and crew members in 2011. All other terminals are run by private stevedoring firms.
Port activity supports 18,200 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic spin-offs annually