Port of Québec secures deal with Hutchison Ports and CN Rail to develop C$775 million container terminal

The Québec Port Authority (QPA) announced the signing of a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and CN (Canadian National Railway) to build and operate the new container terminal, known as project Laurentia (previously Beauport 2020).

This agreement increases Hutchison Ports’ global network to 52 ports spanning 27 countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Argentina, Mexico and Panama. Hutchison Ports plays a strong role in the maritime industry worldwide and handles close to 85 million TEUs per year, representing approximately 11 percent of the global containerized cargo trade.

The C$775 million project will be financed primarily through the joint investment of the three partners. The QPA also has ongoing discussions with the federal and provincial governments to complete the financing. The new terminal facility will support hundreds of new jobs at full operations. Hutchison Ports was selected after a competitive process in which QPA invited the leading international port operators to provide proposals to participate in the project.

“Through a joint venture with Hutchison Ports and CN, we are setting the stage for this project to become a North American success in terms of business and social acceptability not to mention a vector of economic development for Québec, allowing the St. Lawrence to gain additional growth and competitiveness with U.S. ports,” said QPA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Mario Girard.

The agreement stipulates that Hutchison Ports will build the most environmentally and technologically advanced cargo-handling facility in North America. It is a unique opportunity for the Port of Québec’s future container terminal to become one of the terminals with the smallest ecological footprint in the world.

A new brand: Laurentia

With the project reaching a pivotal milestone, the QPA is using the opportunity to unveil the new brand image for its deepwater container terminal. In reference to the North American continent’s genesis, the project will henceforth be known as Laurentia, reflecting the continental reach and importance of the new container terminal on the Saint Lawrence.

As the major inland deepwater terminal in North America, it is the only facility in the St. Lawrence which could accommodate the new generations of very large ships. It also benefits from a direct railway and highway connection and has all the necessary space to handle efficiently thousands of containers per year.

According to a study from KPMG, for the construction phase alone, the project will generate C$500 million in economic benefits and an average of 1,267 jobs a year. Ultimately, the project will generate C$84 million in economic benefits a year and will create nearly 800 jobs, including 500 direct ones, in Québec.

The deep-water container terminal project is currently under an environmental assessment process with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Andrea Lee