Canadian Québec Port Authority (QPA) has signed a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and Canadian National Railway (CN) to build and operate a new container terminal, known as project Laurentia.
The CAD 775 million (USD 574 million) project, previously known Bauport 2020, 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.
“Today, 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,” Mario Girard, Québec Port Authority’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented.
As explained, Hutchison Ports was selected after a competitive process in which QPA invited international port operators to provide proposals to participate in the project.
The agreement stipulates that Hutchison Ports will build “the most environmentally and technologically advanced” cargo-handling facility in North America. The facility would become one of the terminals with the smallest ecological footprint in the world, according to QPA.
“We are pleased to partner with the Québec Port Authority and CN to develop the Québec container terminal. Québec City will become Hutchison Ports’ gateway to the East coast of North America,” Eric Ip, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Ports, said.
As the major inland deep-water terminal in North America, the new terminal will be the only facility in the St. Lawrence which could accommodate the new generations of very large ships.
The deep-water container terminal project is currently under an environmental assessment process with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
This agreement increases Hutchison Ports’ global network to 52 ports spanning 27 countries. Hutchison Ports handles close to 85 million TEU per year, representing approximately 11% of the global containerized cargo trade.