Thanks to its many competitive advantages over other St. Lawrence ports, the Port of Québec is of the best positioned ports to meet international trade demand. Its water depth and location ensure that different Canadian and North American industries can access foreign markets through the use of large ships. These unique advantages make the Port of Québec the linchpin of Eastern Canada’s import and export market.
The Port of Québec is a critical link that connects North American industry and agriculture with the rest of the world. As the last deep-water port on the St. Lawrence, it allows importers and exporters to maximize economies of scale for maritime transport while bringing them as close as possible to consumer markets in Canada and certain regions of the United States.
Québec City is the top Canadian port in terms of domestic ship visits and tonnage because of the type of cargo it handles and the inbound/outbound logistics its customers prefer. It is also the main partner of the St. Lawrence Seaway, substantially increasing its impact on the national economy. Transshipment activities benefit numerous Canadian companies operating upstream or downstream of the Port, which is not necessarily the case at other ports.
The QPA’s partners include terminal operators, shippers, ship owners, cruise lines, maritime agencies, rail and road freight carriers, brokers, and a host of stakeholders involved in the supply chain. We also deal with many local stakeholders who, while not Port customers per se, have an interest in its activities and development.
In 2021, the tonnage handled by the Port increased by 4.8% compared to 2020. With 28.3 metric tonnes of merchandise, 2021 was the fourth largest year in our history in terms of volume. Despite the pandemic, together with our operator partners, we maintained functional supply and logistics chains.
As reported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Export Development Canada (EDC), the global recovery continued in 2021 despite the effects of COVID-19. In fact, key trade indicators are stronger than before the pandemic, and all are pointing toward marked medium-term growth, both in economic terms and with respect to international trade. This rapid recovery, supported by strong consumer demand, is creating inflationary pressures coupled with labour shortages in some economic sectors. Although challenges have emerged in the supply chains, the situation is generally positive for the maritime industry.
A Canadian leader in prepared concrete, Béton Provincial had its largest year of operation at the Port of Québec in 2021. At 180,000 tonnes, Béton Provincial’s facilities at the Port of Québec constitute the largest cement storage capacity in the world. The company has 85 prepared concrete plants, five precast concrete plants, 20 paving plants, and more than 500 concrete mixers, as well as a bitumen terminal with a polymerization plant. Among the company’s and its 2,000 employees’ impressive achievements are the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric generation station, in Labrador, an 800,000-cubic-metre, single-piece concrete structure, as well as the pillars and slabs that make up the Samuel-de-Champlain Bridge. The company also provided the voussoirs that make up the overhead structure of the Réseau express métropolitain public transit project in Montréal, using much lower carbon concrete that is also three times stronger. Béton Provincial is also the concrete supplier for the construction of the National Bank tower, which, once completed, will be the tallest office tower in Montréal.
The CPBSL (Lower St. Lawrence pilots corporation) is proud to have maintained the flow of essential goods on the St. Lawrence River via maritime transportation during the second year of the pandemic. In 2021, it completed 6,338 assignments on the river and 1,000 ship manoeuvres at the Port of Québec. As a partner of the Port of Québec, the CPBSL contributes to the region’s economic development to make Québec City a go-to destination for the transport of goods and passengers.
Incorporated in 1873, the CPSLC (Central St. Lawrence pilots corporation) is a group of 122 patented pilots for the pilotage of ships between Québec City and Montréal. For the CPSLC, ensuring the safe conducting of ship operations with a view to environmental protection and sustainable development is at the heart of its mission. In 2021, the Corporation completed 14,169 pilotage missions for 776 different vessels, with a no-incident mission rate of 99.93%. The CPSLC is also responsible for the training of future pilots. As of December 31, 2021, it had 12 apprentice pilots. Despite two years of a challenging pandemic, shipping traffic was able to operate normally due to the health measures that the Corporation implemented, in order to deliver goods to the right port, on time, and safely for crews, pilots, and the public.
Desgagnés specializes in liquid and solid bulk, general cargo, and passenger transportation. Its activities also extend to the repair of ships and the rental and operation of heavy machinery. Desgagnés has a fleet of about 20 ships with more than 364 kilotonnes of capacity. With annual revenues of more than $300 million, the group is known for the quality its operations run by its nearly 1,000 employees. The Port of Québec is central to Desgagnés’ operations, with 185 stopovers in 2021, mainly for the transport of liquid bulk. 2020 was also marked by the 100th liquefied natural gas refuelling of ships powered by dual-fuelling engines. The vessel Rossi A. Desgagnés reached this major milestone on December 3rd. The implementation of this supply system is a cleaner energy option for navigable waters. Desgagnés would like to thank the entire team at the Port of Québec and the different stakeholders who are integral to its operations.
Fednav is the largest oceangoing bulk shipping carrier in Canada. The company has a fleet of approximately 120 vessels, of which it owns 60. It transports bulk throughout the world and has service points on four continents, including 13 marine terminals in North America. In 2021, the company underwent some major changes and faced significant challenges, in addition to finding unexpected opportunities. In the face of ever-changing measures imposed by the pandemic, it reorganized its main business unit in the name of efficiency and process improvement. It also took delivery of its newest Polar Class 4 ice-breaking bulk carrier, MV Arvik I, and signed an agreement with Sumisho Marine Co. and Oshima Shipbuilding Co. to build 10 new ocean lakers, with the first ship to be delivered in mid-2023.
In 2021, thanks to its facilities in Eastern Canada, including the Port of Québec’s grain terminal, G3 continued to offer local producers more choices to deliver their grain and give them full access to international markets. The company employs 600 people across Canada and exports grain to more than 40 countries. The G3 terminal in Québec City has the flexibility to receive grain by truck, train, and ship to facilitate the movement of grain locally and across Canada.
For more than 50 years, Glencore’s port facilities have been used to receive, store, and ship a range of equipment and raw materials. At the Port of Québec, its facilities are divided into two sections: one for nickel concentrate from Raglan Mine in northern Québec, and another for nickel matte from the integrated nickel facilities in Sudbury. The transshipment and transportation of nickel at the Port of Québec are covered activities. Glencore’s port operations have been ISO 14001 certified since 2015 and were certified under the Green Marine program in 2016. Concentrate-related operations are subject to a maximum ore processing capacity that must remain the same over time under its comprehensive authorization certificate. Since 2021, Glencore has been using the new commercial icebreaker Arvik I to transport its concentrate. This new vessel was designed to meet the highest technological standards and current environmental requirements. Glencore’s companies in Canada employ more than 7,500 employees and contractors in seven provinces and one territory.
Over the past year, Ocean Group expanded into Western Canada with marine towing and mechanical dredging services. Ocean Group also acquired Samson Tugboats, a Vancouver-based marine towing company. In partnership with the Port of Québec, it also contributed to the efforts of the Pôle de vaccination des entreprises de la Capitale-Nationale (Québec City vaccination hub). Finally, in October, Ocean Group was awarded the HR Best Practices Award at the Québec City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Fidéides Gala.
The Ramsey Greig & Co. Ltd. marine agency, a member of the LOGISTEC family of companies, has been a partner of the Port of Québec since 1934. It offers complete marine agency services for cruise ships and cargo ships. The agency offers secure, sustainable, and creative solutions within LOGISTEC’s large network, which operates 80 terminals in 54 ports in North America. In 2021, the company entered into a contract with the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) to add the NM Svanoy to its operational fleet. This vessel will serve the clientele of the L’Isle-aux-Coudres–Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive ferry crossing, for the benefit of the communities. The charter of the vessel by the STQ is an innovative and new business model, which demonstrates the added value of LOGISTEC’s network and services.
LOLA offers its clients personalized agency services for their ships and cargo. The company’s highly motivated and experienced personnel maximizes value by delivering tailor-made solutions and protecting customers’ best interest at all times. At LOLA, 2021 was marked by the retirement of Réal Robichaud, who had been working there for 33 years, and the arrival of Simon de Repentigny, who, supported by Warren Beeson, has taken on the mandate to continue growing the company, currently the largest marine agency in eastern Canada.
QSL is a key player in the supply chain, specializing in port operations, docking, marine services, logistics, and transport. Last fall, QSL became the first-ever Canadian maritime industry participant in the United Nations Global Compact. 2021 was a historic year for the company both in terms of tonnage and growth. QSL now has 63 terminals in North America, including in Beauport and Anse au Foulon, where their head office is located. Several acquisitions were completed, giving the company additional expertise in the container, logistics, and transportation sectors, both in the United States and in Canada. A flagship Québec company founded in Québec City in 1978, QSL now has more than 2,000 employees and continues to pursue its vision of becoming the benchmark for the industry in North America.
Established in Lévis over fifty years ago, the Jean-Gaulin refinery, a subsidiary of Valero Energy, produces the vast majority of the fuels consumed in the province of Québec, so that citizens can get where they need to go, stay warm, and have access to the products that are essential to daily life. During its long history, the Jean-Gaulin refinery has reached many milestones. Among the highlights, several billion dollars have been invested, including nearly two billion dollars in the last decade, to modernize this strategic energy centre. With a production capacity of 265,000 barrels per day, it provides consumer products including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, propane, and heating fuel.
With more than 400 years of history, Vopak is the world’s independent leader in bulk liquid storage. The company has 70 terminals in 23 countries. In 2021, Vopak continued to ensure the safe, clean, and efficient storage and handling of liquid products and bulk gases, to ensure the delivery of the products that are essential to our economy and to daily life. In Québec City, Vopak has 15 tanks for different types of fuels. Committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to new types of energy, Vopak is developing infrastructure solutions that support the handling of products such as renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, liquefied natural gas (LNG), biofuels, flow batteries, and sustainable raw materials.
Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, no international cruise ships made a stop at the Port of Québec in 2021 for the second year in a row. In 2021, the industry slowly got back on its feet and, by the end of the year, about 80% of the world’s fleet was back in service, but with occupancy rates below historical averages.
For example, approximately 5.6 million people travelled on a cruise ship in 2021, compared to about 30 million in 2019. However, none of the 300 vessels operated by the major international cruise lines made a stop at a St. Lawrence port. With our partners, we determined—based on public health recommendations—that the climate was not yet favourable to resume cruise operations in our region.
This situation has been experienced by all players in the cruise industry in Québec. However, over the past two years, we have worked actively with industry stakeholders, such as Cruise Line International, North West Canada, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Destination Quebec cité, and several others, to anticipate the return of cruise lines in 2022.
In 2021, we also demonstrated our leadership on the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) Cruise Committee, which includes several Canadian ports. The group aims to define the issues in this sector and to provide avenues of reflection and recommendations to government authorities for the resumption of international cruises post pandemic. In collaboration with Cruise the Saint Lawrence, we have also developed the COVID-19 health protocols that will be used by all ports on the St. Lawrence.
Harbour services and a control station are at the core of the marine and ground operations at the Port of Québec terminals. Working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, our teams manage the movement of ships in the port and coordinate safety measures on port lands. More than thirty people handle thousands of calls each year related to port activities and emergency situations at the harbour services office and the control station.
262calls per day (average)
192calls per day (average)
Just minutes from Old Québec, the new cruise terminal at the Port of Québec was completed in 2021 with the addition of a 21-metre boarding footbridge from the waterline. These new facilities will allow us to host international cruise lines in 2022 in the most modern of environments, offering cruise ships a full range of services for boarding, disembarkation, and stopover operations. The location of this new terminal in the Estuary sector also ensures accommodation for very large vessels.
In June 2021, we took over the management and operation of the Québec Port Authority parking lot, with the exception of the Ross-Gaudreault cruise ship terminal. To this end, we purchased parking meters and developed a portal for users to purchase their monthly parking permits online. We also implemented the Flowbird mobile app, which allows users to pay for their parking space and add parking time remotely. The posting of the different parking areas has also been reviewed and we are currently working on deploying a permit monitoring tool for our patrollers.
In accordance with the operational plans and protocols put in place in 2020 for cruises, this year we worked with internationally renowned expert Ioannis Bras to design the operational plans for the wharves for all of our stopover and destination operations. This was done in collaboration with the member ports of the Cruise the Saint Lawrence association to bind us together in presenting similar operational plans to the cruise lines, which take into consideration the latest Transport Canada guidelines.
Last year, with participation from Desgagnés, Ocean Group, QSL, G3 Canada Limited, IMTT, and Béton Provincial, we assisted in a COVID-19 vaccination and screening campaign by developing one of the first vaccination centres in our new cruise terminal with our partner Relévénement. We worked closely with the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale to contribute to vaccination and screening efforts, while continuing to welcome clientele to events in accordance with health regulations.
In the winter of 2021, despite the constraints due to the health regulations in place, the Village Nordik du Port de Québec, organized by Relévénement, saw a great turnout with its sold-out ice fishing activities. With help from our partner, Gestev, we recorded another record year of participation in our summer entertainment events and swimming at Beauport Bay. La Cour arrière du Festibière, presented in collaboration with our partner Projet Y, also had a record year in terms of visitors.
The Ross-Gaudreault terminal welcomed 46,665 visitors to a total of 106 events, including La Grande Braderie de Mode de Québec, the Semaine numériQC, and many others.
With the pandemic experienced these past two years, we have noticed a renewed interest in boating. In 2021, the marina saw a significant increase in its boater clientele, with a 25% increase in visitor stays and a 13% increase in the number of members. The marina at the Port of Québec has 25 employees who provide services to boaters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 2021, they handled more than 500 boats and carried out thousands of lockage operations. The marina also hosted 1,150 boats dockside and stored 294 boats for the winter, both indoors and outdoors.
A new service also got off the ground with the rental of two floating houses offering unique and high-end accommodations. Operated by Studio Hébergements Flottants, the new offering is a hit with tourists, who can experience a night on the water in the heart of the Port of Québec’s marina.
The maintenance department is responsible for the repair, installation, and preventive maintenance of equipment, roads, buildings, water, and electrical services on port lands. In 2021, our team of 14 employees worked on the restoration of the drawbridge in the Louise Basin sector. The drawbridge was completely redone to ensure the safe flow of traffic. The team also received and put into service the new mobile passenger boarding bridge at the new cruise terminal at wharf 30.
2021 saw large investments in infrastructure. We completed numerous restoration projects to continue the upgrading of the infrastructure under our responsibility and which is at the heart of the transshipment of goods at the Port of Québec.
These projects include:
We continue to work to maintain and improve our infrastructure.