The Port of Montreal is seeing 2010 in with expectations of “a gradual but slow recovery” after a traffic decline unusual in recent years began to stabilize in the final months of 2009.
Sylvie Vachon, president and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority, said 2009 ended with total volume at nearly 23.8 million metric tons, down 11.9 percent from just over 27 million tons in 2008.
Container traffic reached, according to preliminary figures for December, about 1,260,000 20-foot equivalent units for the year, a drop of 14.5 percent from 1,473,914 TEUs in 2008.
It was the first year since 2002 in which total traffic declined at the Port of Montreal, but Vachon says December data indicates “that the decrease in traffic has stabilized.”
“This points to a gradual but slow recovery that calls for us to remain cautious,” she said in an MPA statement. The traffic figures for the full year would bear out her view of a late-year improvement or “stabilization.” The 11.8 percent decrease in total traffic now seen for the whole of 2009 had been a decrease of 14 percent after the first three quarters.
In containers, to the end of last November, after 11 months of the year, there had been 1,156,052 TEUs handled, against 1,370,471 in the first 11 months of 2008, a drop of 15.6 percent. By the end of 2009, the TEUs had decreased by 14.5 percent.
Vachon said the chief bright spot for Montreal in 2009 was in grain shipping, up 16.9 percent for the first 11 months to 220,000 metric tons.
Vachon spoke as she awarded the port’s traditional gold-headed cane, its 171st, to the captain of the first ocean-going ship to enter the port in the new year. It went to Capt. Steven Lloyd, master of the OOCL Belgium, coming from Liverpool, where it left on the morning of Christmas Eve.
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