Quebec gives go-ahead for $590m “Laurentia” container terminal

The Quebec Port Authority (QPA) has approved plans to build a US$590m container terminal on the north shore of the St Lawrence River that it says will be the most environmentally and technologically advanced cargo-handling facility in North America.

The QPA says the Laurentia expansion is necessary because the existing port is operating at full capacity, and it has to expand its business to maintain its current infrastructure and compete with other ports on the eastern seaboard of North America.

The authority said in a statement: "Currently the St Lawrence supply chain lacks a deep-water container terminal to compete effectively with ports on the US east coast and to take advantage of the improved transportation economies of using larger container vessels that require the deep water available at the Port of Quebec."

The project will require a 450m eastward extension of the port’s wharf, the addition of two deep-water berths and the development of a 17ha handling and storage area. When the five-year construction period is complete, the port will be able to handle up to 500,000 containers a year.

In May of this year, QPA signed a deal with Hong Kong-based port operator Hutchison and the Canadian National Railway to develop the container terminal, which it says will be the only inland terminal in North America capable of handling the next generation of very large container ships.

The QPA will pay for the wharf infrastructure and Hutchison will invest in the terminal.

Image: The port of Quebec and its marina (Gilbert Bochenek/CC BY 3.0)

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