2022 marked the end of the pandemic for most maritime and port activities. Once again, it is our competitive advantages, particularly the services provided by our terminal operator partners, who have been at the heart of the port’s activities and the strategic role that the current ecosystem in Québec City plays in Canadian foreign trade.
As a whole, 2022 was an excellent year for the Port of Québec in terms of operations and tonnage handled, reaching 27.7 million tonnes and making it the 3rd best in the last 10 years.
The industries that our terminals serve were able to count on resilient and efficient supply chains to guarantee they had the imports and exports they require for production.
These supply chains—which depend on ports like the Port of Québec—are essential on a daily basis so that the Canadian economy can create the collective wealth we enjoy every day.
The goods that transit through the Port of Québec’s terminals are used, in particular, to fill our cupboards, ensure that we can get where we need to go, build infrastructure and supply us with raw materials and equipment. Ports specialized in business sectors upstream of consumer products must take up the challenge of explaining the role that this traffic plays in the production of countless products which, ultimately, serve multiple industries at the heart of our daily lives. In this regard, Québec City plays an essential role in many sectors of activity that are critical to the Canadian economy.
The agri-food sector occupies a major place in the port’s operations. A prime example is the transportation of grain produced in central Canada and western Canada’s farmlands and exported mainly to Atlantic markets from G3 and Sollio facilities. This sector also generates domestic traffic of grain for animal consumption, which arrives at the port by train or ship with its final destination being the agricultural regions on the South Shore and in eastern Québec. The agri-food industry is also responsible for the importation of fertilizers and raw sugar used on a daily basis in key sectors of the Canadian economy, including food processing. In 2022, the total volumes generated in this industry through operations at Sollio, G3 and QSL were approximately 21% lower than in 2021. The quality of harvests in the West mainly explains the decline in this sector.
The transportation and energy industry also has several transshipment points at the Port of Québec. Home to the wharf of the largest refinery in Québec, and the second largest in Canada, the port plays a strategic role in meeting more than 70% of Québec’s hydrocarbon needs. Overall, the other two hydrocarbon terminals, IMTT-Québec and Parkland, experienced a higher level of traffic in 2022 than in 2021, while some negative effects of the pandemic were still being felt in this industry. Other volumes related to the energy industries, notably those related to the export of wood pellets, which are gradually replacing fossil fuels, were relatively stable compared to 2021.
The steel sector saw a good level of traffic, despite a 24% decrease in volumes compared to 2021. It should be noted that this industry, mainly concentrated in the Great Lakes region, generates several million tonnes of volume per year for the Port of Québec, in addition to calling on Canadian marine carriers. These volumes, which are entirely transshipped by ship, do not require truck transport; for example, the inflow and outflow of goods, such as iron pellets handled by companies in the Great Lakes region, which export their products to Europe and Asia
The construction sector had an excellent year, with volumes totalling nearly 1.5 million tonnes. This trade, which includes cement, gypsum, and other materials, are at the heart of a significant economic activity and give the port a strategic role in a particularly important industry. Businesses in Québec City and the Great Lakes region, such as Béton Provincial and QSL, are critical to the port’s activities in this business sector.
The mining and chemicals industry also had a busy year in 2022. Activities related to mining operations located in Canada’s North were again significant, with a level of traffic comparable to that of 2021. Beyond the tonnages handled, this traffic is particularly important in terms of the complementarity between mining operations and centres for the production of the equipment and materials that Glencore and Vale use to operate the mines.
Nationally, the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) ports trade more than 340 million tonnes with more than 170 countries. With nearly 28 million tonnes handled in 2022 and serving many strategic industries, Québec City plays an essential role in Canada’s port network.
If we consider the indirect impact (suppliers of goods and services to the Canadian Port Authorities [CPAs]) and the induced impact (direct or indirect employees who put their wages back into the general economy) of CPAs, the picture becomes clearer: in total, CPAs generate $53 billion annually in economic output and $25 billion in GDP. Ports also generate significant tax revenues, with approximately $2.1 billion paid by port employers and employees, as well as port authorities themselves, to various levels of government. — Source: ACPA
The primary mission of the Corporation des pilotes du Bas Saint-Laurent [Lower St. Lawrence pilots corporation] is to ensure the safe navigation of ships between Québec City and Les Escoumins, including on the Saguenay River, always in the public’s best interest. With marine traffic rising in 2022, the corporation completed 6,774 assignments on the river and nearly 1,000 vessel manoeuvres at the Port of Québec. The corporation is proud to contribute to the region’s economic development and to making Québec City a key destination for the transportation of goods and passengers by maintaining fluidity in maritime transportation of essential goods on the St. Lawrence River.
This year, the Corporation des Pilotes du Saint-Laurent Central [Central St. Lawrence pilots corporation] is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Since 1873, its 126 pilots have ensured the safe operation of ships on the river. They are responsible for piloting ships between Québec City and Montréal. In 2022, pilots carried out a total of 14,781 pilotage missions, including 6,598 for the Québec City sector. The corporation is pride to rise to the challenge of ensuring the safe operation of ships for the benefit of all from a perspective of environmental protection and sustainable development.
Desgagnés specializes in liquid and solid bulk, general cargo, and passenger transportation with its fleet of 18 ships. Its activities also extend to the repair of ships and the rental and operation of heavy machinery.
2022 was marked by a growth in its annual revenues thanks to a favourable economic climate. In terms of sustainable development, Desgagnés continues to implement various initiatives and take action aimed at ensuring a harmonious coexistence between maritime transport, a vector of development, the environment, and the maritime ecosystem.
Another highlight was the sale of the N/C Maria Desgagnés. As the first step in revitalizing the Desgagnés fleet, the arrival of the N/C Maria Desgagnés was one of the cornerstones of the growth of the Petro-Nav Inc. business unit and the development of Desgagnés as a whole.
Fednav operates a modern fleet of 120 bulk carriers and remains the main international user of the St. Lawrence–Great Lakes water system. The company transports more than 30 million tonnes of dry bulk cargo worldwide each year and is renowned for its expertise in ice trading, owning the largest fleet of ice-class laker bulk carriers in the world. For 60 years, Fednav has proudly offered continuous service between Europe and the ports of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, as well as agency services in Québec City, including cruise ships. In 2023, Fednav will begin taking possession of the 10 new super-eco ocean-going lakers announced in 2021, the company’s most efficient vessels to date.
Over the past year, Glencore’s operations at the Port of Québec have been marked by continuous improvements that have helped reduce the risk of fugitive dust emissions. The deployment of the system developed for unloading ships, the installation of a new dust collector on one of its conveyors, and the commissioning of a new unloader are among the innovations that were implemented in 2022. Since 2013, more than $60 million has been invested, and other initiatives are underway or planned for the coming years. Glencore is proud to be one of the Port of Québec’s leading partners since 1967.
For Ocean Group, this past year was marked by the acquisition of the Verreault shipyard. This major acquisition increases Ocean Group’s shipbuilding and repair capacity, thanks to the addition of approximately one hundred skilled workers and one of the largest dry docks in Canada. Ocean Group is also continuing its expansion on Canada’s West Coast and is currently exploring various options to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations.
LOLA is the largest shipping agency in Eastern Canada. In the midst of navigating a leadership transition, its exceptional teams managed to achieve nothing less than a record year, tackling a year full of challenges, bearing the fruit of the efforts of all its staff, who deserve to be recognized. This record year can also be explained by the expansion of the LOLA network, now physically present in the Maritimes with the integration of the Furncan Marine Agency, as well as in the Great Lakes, with new talent acquisition, and in the heart of Montréal, with the acquisition, in May 2022, of the SMK Tanker Agency, mainly involved with liquid bulk cargoes. The agency also aims to diversify its service offering, starting with Québec City, and to take proactive action in the cruise industry, an initiative that is already spreading throughout its network. Its dedication to continuous improvement reinforces the solid foundation it needs to support this growth, which includes major innovations specific to its services.
QSL is a world-class company specializing in port terminal operations, docking, marine services, logistics, and transportation throughout North America. As a key point in the supply chain and headquartered in Québec City, QSL develops custom solutions to offer innovative handling methods, particularly with respect to goods, and to contribute to the well-being of the communities in which it operates.
In 2022, the company received recognition in the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec’s [Québec’s federation of chambers of commerce] Mercuriades awards, receiving the Occupational Health and Safety Award for its near-miss reporting campaign. In addition to expanding its reach in the Québec City area, QSL became the port authority at Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia, reaching a milestone with 64 terminals in North America. Always pushing the boundaries in its industry, but also in its communities, QSL is a proud participant in the United Nations Global Compact and will soon be unveiling its first-ever sustainable development report. The company is continuing on its upward trajectory and continues to deliver its promise to its customers: Tailor-Made Success.
The importance of marine transportation is one of Sollio Agriculture’s competitive advantages in the province of Québec. For Sollio, 2022 was marked by logistical challenges related to the importation of mineral fertilizers as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. In addition, its facilities at the Port of Québec allow it to supply agricultural producers in our regions with inputs for their crops and the ingredients they need for animal feed. It also has the necessary facilities to export grain destined for foreign markets, with the collaboration of its partners. The St. Lawrence River is a majestic route that gives it access to import and export markets, and contributes to giving Québec a global reputation. Over the next few years, Sollio Agriculture is proud to continue serving as a leading player at the Port of Québec.
In 2022, we worked with RightShip, a digital marine platform based on the ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) approach, and joined the growing list of organizations that use this greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment tool to measure emissions from ships entering our waters. As a result, the Port now offers a reduced port fee to ships based on their GHG emission efficiency. In this first year, more than 200 cargo vessels were entitled to a reduction for their environmentally responsible practices through the EcoCargo program.
After two years marked by their absence due to the pandemic, it is with joy that the region’s tourism industry celebrated the return of cruise ships to the Port of Québec, welcoming 92,000 passengers in 2022. During the season, from April 26 to November 1, 2022, 23 cruise lines and 28 separate vessels, including eight on their maiden voyage, made a stopover at the Port of Québec. These figures show that Québec City remains a leading destination in the Canada–New England market, a destination that represents 1.2% of the global market share for international cruises.
In 2022, the Port of Québec began re-examining the possibility of mooring ships at Wharf 93, the Canadian Coast Guard wharf, thanks to the completion of repairs that had been underway for a full decade. The wharf had not been in use since 2012. Its ideal location, at the foot of Quartier Petit Champlain, has made it a considerable asset as a stopover wharf and improves our offering to cruise passengers. A total of three vessels used this wharf during the season.
In December, in collaboration with Destination Québec Cité, we organized the Forum sur les croisières [international cruise forum], a unique model that we developed in 2014 which focuses on partner consultations and citizen participation. The event brought together nearly 100 industry and business stakeholders as well as community representatives to discuss sustainable development and responsible management as a cruise ship destination.
While cruises represent only 3% of tourism in Québec City and 15% during the peak season in September and October, we want to work proactively with members of the community and actors in the tourism industry to ensure a harmonious integration of cruise ship activity in the city. For the Port of Québec, passenger satisfaction rates and the satisfaction of citizens and industry members are closely linked. In this regard, that the Port has adopted several port-city cohabitation measures :
The Port is often cited as an example of smart and integrated management of a cruise ship destination by multiple associations for its innovative way of ensuring a harmonious development of the destination. As such, the Port continues to monitor best practices in this area through its involvement with various associations: Cruise the Saint Lawrence, Cruise Lines International, the Worldwide Network of Port Cities (AIVP), the American Association of Port Authorities, and Green Marine. The Port is also a member of the highly regarded Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), in addition to participating in the sustainable tourism forum and local initiatives focused on alternative tourism.
The cruise industry generates major economic benefits for Québec City. According to a study conducted in April 2017 by Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA), the economic impact of the industry is estimated to be more than $700 million for the province. For Québec City, the economic benefits are estimated to be $106 million.
The new Terminal 30 was used for COVID-19 screening and vaccination operations at the Capitale-Nationale integrated university health and social services centre (CIUSSSCN) until the summer of 2022. It was officially inaugurated in July in the company of numerous dignitaries and guests.
The resumption of cruises was an opportunity to make these new modern and spacious facilities available to travellers. With a capacity of more than 5,000 passengers and capable of accommodating large vessels, Terminal 30 received 14 ships for its first season, for a total of 21 days of cruise operations with seven days dedicated to boarding and disembarking.
The Ross-Gaudreault terminal was in cruise operations mode for a total of 65 days, six of which were dedicated to boarding and disembarking, and welcoming a total of 58 vessels.
21days of cruise operations
65days of cruise operations
Terminal 30, the Ross-Gaudreault Terminal and the Quai du Cap-Blanc Hall welcomed a total of 96,086 visitors at 217 events, including events organized by the Ocean Group, QSL, G3, Desgagnés, Familiprix, Latulippe, the École du Barreau, Beneva, Québec Numérique, and La Grande Braderie de Mode Québécois, in addition to the exhibition “Imagine Monet.”
The Port of Québec Marina enjoys an excellent reputation and brings not only economic benefits, but also undeniable added value to the heart of Old Québec. It is also a popular stopover for boaters.
This year was marked by the gradual return of foreign tourists and mega yachts (25). Boating was back in full swing and we expect to be at capacity in 2023.
In 2022, 315 members benefited from the marina’s services, which also welcomed 650 visiting boats for a short stay. The marina’s staff carried out approximately 525 boat handling operations and 306 boats were stored on our grounds for the winter period.
The traditional Nordik Village at the Port of Québec was back in February and March 2022 for a 6th edition, with an enhanced program featuring a range of outdoor activities.
In addition to ice fishing, the 20,000 visitors who stepped foot on site were able to participate in a fishing tournament, enjoy a stroll, go snowshoeing, and take advantage of the children’s play areas. Catering services and a pleasant musical atmosphere in the relaxation area were also enjoyed.
On July 1, 2022, we inaugurated the Port of Québec Oasis, a project carried out in collaboration with the Société des gens de bain [swimmers association] and the non-profit organization Village Nordik.
In addition to swimming activities and five 50-metre swimming lanes, the site offers a terrace, food service, relaxation areas and shows. Local musicians also presented approximately twenty musical performances during the summer.
As North America’s first recreational swimming spot in an urban environment, the Port of Québec Oasis was open to the public free of charge seven days a week, from 11 am to 9 pm, until September 11th. It directly employed 14 people.
The Port of Québec Agora reopened in 2022, thanks to a partnership between the Port of Québec and the Incubateur de musique francophone (IMF).
After consultation with the representatives of neighbourhood residents, 13 different events, for a total of 26 days or evenings of activities, were presented. More than 55,000 people strolled the Agora’s boardwalk during the summer, which represents an excellent turnout and demonstrates the public’s appreciation of the return of the events to the Agora.
In addition to music and comedy shows with ComédiHa!, the Port of Québec Agora also hosted sporting events including basketball and dance, as well as the Festival celtique de Québec. The festival SuperFrancoFête is without a doubt the event that attracted the largest crowd, with 15,000 spectators. The show, which was captured by French television, was broadcast throughout the Francophonie, showcasing both the city and the Port of Québec, in addition to raising their profiles across the world.
It should be noted that, after consultations with citizens, the Vieux-Québec–Cap-Blanc–Colline parlementaire district council, in conjunction with the Comité des citoyens du Vieux-Québec [Old Québec citizens committee], awarded the Port of Québec’s Agora and Oasis the Prix Orange, both for the quality of the activities hosted, the services provided, and respect for residents’ quality of life.
Thanks to the involvement of our partner Gestev, Beauport Bay had another great summer season. The city beach attracted nearly 72,000 visitors to enjoy swimming in the river, water games, a volleyball court, and the nautical station, including the sailing and kitesurfing school, which has 254 members. The go-Van camping site recorded 646 overnight stays.
New in 2022, the Cigale music festival also held its first-ever edition in Beauport Bay. For a weekend, the music-food-beach concept attracted more than 7,500 festival-goers who came to enjoy the performances of local and internationally renowned artists.
We are very proud of the Beauport Bay team, who was awarded the Tourism Industry of the Year award at the Québec City Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Fidéides awards.
2022 once again saw large investments in infrastructure. Several projects already underway continued, and others were started up with the goal of maintaining the service level of the assets under our responsibility. Added to this is rigorous project monitoring involving numerous experts and the development of multiple financial statements to ensure sound management of our assets.
Some of our accomplishments include:
This year, the port also hosted the first-ever technical interport meeting between various ports in Québec and one in New Brunswick, a meeting initiated by the Port. The purpose of this meeting was to foster collaboration and the sharing of technical knowledge between the various organizations present.
In May 2022, the Ministère des Transports du Québec announced nearly $10.8 in million funding to support the restoration of strategic port infrastructure. This financial contribution will bring the total to approximately $35 million, which will allow the Port of Québec to pursue 14 projects to upgrade and repair infrastructure located in the Anse au Foulon, Estuary, and Beauport sectors. We continue to work to maintain and improve our infrastructure.
This year, we also received confirmation of federal support through the National Trade Corridors Fund program, which aims to increase fluidity in Canada’s supply chains. This contribution will enable us to carry out three major projects: increasing terminal storage space at wharf 103 in the Anse au Foulon sector; increasing terminal storage space at wharves 104-105; and increasing capacity and efficiency at the Estuary yard. In total, these projects total more than $5.6-million, half of which will be covered by the program.