2020 has been a year of great personal, family and professional adjustment for each and every one of us. On behalf of myself and all the members of the Board of Directors of the Port of Québec, I want to express to all the people of greater Québec and of greater Lévis our full solidarity in the face of the new global reality.
Over its long history, the Port of Québec has been both an actor and a witness to several difficult episodes that have impacted our community and humanity.
The year 2020 marked 10 months when we had to adapt everything, or nearly everything, and revise our habits and work styles.
Today, more than ever, the Port gives us assurance as a pillar at the heart of our economy, our society, and our lives. A vehicle of prosperity. An organization we can trust.
In the midst of this upheaval, I was able to see how the Port of Québec immediately became agile and favoured business continuity, and, because of the circumstances, even decided to add a community assistance component to it.
The troops, with our CEO at the helm, have not only been very nimble, but they have been working hard with the users to ensure that regional supply chains were never broken.
Today, as every year, this annual report is an opportunity to take stock of our results, our decisions and to highlight the key milestones that marked the year. This meeting remains a privileged forum to take stock of our community involvement and to remind us of the Port’s role and crucial presence in the development and future of our great region and those around us.
On a more personal note, the year 2020 marks my arrival as Chair of the Board of Directors, a board of seasoned directors. I am fortunate to be working with highly qualified people, citizens who are involved in the community and who are firmly committed to the success of the Port of Québec. They are all motivated by the desire to maintain the Port’s sustainability through development that contributes directly to the quality of life of our community. I sincerely thank them.
Collectively, we have all recognized this year, more than ever before, the crucial aspect of being at the heart of the global supply chain.
Despite an economic slowdown in the transportation sector directly attributable to global confinement measures, the Port’s financial health remains strong. Being at the heart of the vital Quebecker and Canadian supply chain to which we contribute every day, we must constantly evolve in order to maintain our competitiveness and our attraction.
A port remains an organization that must at all costs position itself on the best sea, rail and land routes to offer the best value proposition in terms of the competitiveness and efficiency of the various customer chains, based on the origin and destination of the goods. Like any organization, a stagnant port is a declining port.
Whether it is through our renewed partnerships, the constant improvement of our infrastructure, or the diversification of our activities, so clearly embodied in the Laurentia project, we strive to continuously improve our vision and our actions to sustainably grow and contribute to the social and economic advancement of our community. In this regard, Laurentia has the support of 188 municipalities in central and eastern Québec, precisely because of its structuring effect on the regional economy. In the same vein, more than 130 businesses in the same region have also expressed the importance of this project for their development.
The dramatic impact of the pandemic on our 2020 cruise season and the cancellation of all cruises was, for the tourism industry in Québec City, a reminder of the extent to which port activities must be based on several complementary business pillars.
As a result of this activity, we are closely monitoring the recovery of this major global industry. But clearly 2021 will not be a dramatic recovery year in the cruise world.
In terms of achievements related to the environment and sustainable development, we have taken concrete steps in the past year by continuing to advance our action plan.
Before I conclude, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all board members for their solidarity, professionalism, and commitment to the Port’s reputation and to its sound management and growth. The Board of Directors and its committees met 22 times in 2020. We also enthusiastically approved and implemented the strategic directions in collaboration with the management team.
I would also like to acknowledge the outstanding work of all QPA employees, whose constant dedication and expertise were once again remarkable during this very disruptive year.
I would also like to point out the great collaboration that takes place on a daily basis and the critical work done by the users and partners involved in Québec City’s port environment.
I would also like to thank the President and CEO, the tireless Mario Girard, for his extraordinary determination, his will to take us further and his responsible governance of the organization.
Many thanks to the entire team for the admirable work and accomplishments in 2020, for their amazing ability to adapt and for the optimism instilled since the beginning of this year.