The number of cruise ships calling at the Port of Québec has increased dramatically in recent years. In fact, cruising is the fastest-growing segment in the tourism industry, with the number of visitors brought in by international cruises up more than 50% in comparison to 2010. As a strategic partner to other ports of call, Quebec City needs to be able to provide mooring for several ships at once and adapt to various sizes of ships and types of operations (port visits, embarkations, and disembarkations) if it is to promote growth along the entire St. Lawrence River.
A growth-generating project for the international cruise ship industry
The tourism industry is a big part of Québec’s economy. Within that industry, the cruise sector has tremendous potential for growth and targets wealthy foreign travellers specifically. Quebec City is very well positioned in that regard because it’s close to the U.S., it’s safe, it appeals to both Europeans and Americans, it has a unique French-Canadian flair, and because some markets in other parts of the world are saturated.
After the Forum on International Cruises held in February 2014, the people of Quebec City set themselves a common goal of pursuing growth in the cruise sector, aiming for 400,000 passengers per year by 2025. With more than 200,000 cruise passengers in 2017, the city is on track to reach its main objective of doubling visitor numbers in the next few years.
The Port’s cruise infrastructure is presently operating at full capacity. Due to its size and configuration, the Ross Gaudreault Cruise Terminal in Pointe-à-Carcy cannot accommodate ships with more than 3,600 passengers getting off and on the ship without adding temporary facilities to provide more space. Such facilities are costly, inefficient, and detrimental to the cruiser experience. These days, the typical ship that cruise lines want to use in our market has capacity for over 4,000 passengers. We’ll be seeing more ships of this size on the St. Lawrence in 2019.
With this in mind, the QPA and Ville de Québec have joined forces in hiring consultants Bermello Ajamil & Partners to conduct an in-depth logistics study. The study will help us establish the project components, plan the necessary investments, minimize costs, and make sure the project meets operational needs in the best possible way. Based on the latest information and conclusions provided by Bermello Ajamil & Partners, we have identified what we need to do to reach our goal of 400,000 passengers by 2025: build a new cruise terminal at Dock 30, in the Estuary sector.
The project will cost $30 million. We’ve secured $15 million in funding from the provincial government, $10 million from the Québec Port Authority, and $5 million from Ville de Québec. The work will include:
1. Site restoration and preparation at Dock 30 ($10 million)
2. Construction of the new permanent cruise terminal at Dock 30 ($11 million)
3. Two walkways at Dock 30 ($4 million)
4. Drawbridge improvements ($5 million)
The project will:
• Make it easier to accommodate large ships
• Enhance the passenger experience with a second terminal that meets international standards
• Meet the logistical needs of ships for embarkation/disembarkation operations
• Increase the capacity of our infrastructure to accommodate 400,000 passengers by 2025
The completion of the project is a crucial step in supporting the strong growth in international cruises that Québec will experience over the next 10 years. These improvements will benefit the economy and tourist industry both in Quebec City and throughout the province, enhancing the St. Lawrence River’s unique positioning as an international cruise destination.