The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) informed that 2019 was a sixth consecutive record year in terms of tonnes of goods handled. The total volume of goods reached 40.6 million tonnes, up 4.3% from 2018.
The container sector set a new record with 15.1 million tonnes of containerized cargo and 1.75 million TEUs. Market diversification continued, with 27% of containerized trade being with Asia (an 8% increase), 5% with South America and 4% with Africa and Oceania. At 57%, Europe remained the main market. At the same time, its trade with the U.S. Midwest enjoyed an 11% upswing.
The dry bulk sector also increased 17% over last year with a total of 9.2 million tonnes, mainly because of the resumption of operations at the grain terminal following a labour stoppage in 2018.
The liquid bulk sector remained stable compared to last year with 16.2 million tonnes handled. The non-containerized cargo sector dropped 33.5%, to 123,000 tonnes of cargo, mainly due to the end of handling oversized parts for the new Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge.
Additionally, the 2019 cruise season boasted 112, 000 cruise passengers and crew members, with 76 calls from 17 different cruise lines.
What is more, MPA showed a continuous decrease over the past seven years in the intensity of GHG emissions from MPA-specific activities per tonne of cargo handled. Overall, 145 sustainable development actions were taken in 2019, including measures to protect at-risk species, planting 750 trees, installing a new electrical connection for a decommissioned vessel and the launch of an urban beekeeping project.
However, the current health and economic crisis is not without consequences for the Port of Montreal. Due to recent directives from the Government of Canada, the cruise season in Montreal was cancelled.
As for cargo volumes handled, after a solid first quarter, the MPA has been experiencing signs of a slowdown on its docks since April, but the intermodal chain remains fully mobilized. For the year 2020, the MPA expects a 12% drop in freight traffic compared to last year. This decline should be followed by a recovery at the end of the year and into early 2021.