At a press conference held yesterday morning, the Quebec government unveiled a new strategic plan for the maritime sector, entitled “Avantage Saint-Laurent.” The plan builds on the maritime strategy that was developed in 2019 and is based on the St. Lawrence River’s role as a major driver of economic activity and development in the province. A total funding envelope of $926.9 million (to be covered by the Quebec government and other partners) has been allocated to the plan, and will be spent over a five year period. The plan and related funding commitments are based on three strategic orientations, as per below:
$300 million will be allocated to the development of modern and competitive port infrastructure in the region, including:
- $55 million for the Port of Montreal’s Contrecoeur container terminal (the announcement of this funding commitment was already made earlier this year);
- $145 million for infrastructure projects that will contribute to a quick economic recovery (18 month timeframe from launch to first deliverables). Particular consideration will be given to projects that employ local workers, help develop new markets, and positively impact the province’s GDP. Projects that promote short sea shipping will also be given priority consideration;
- $100 million for a new program that supports investment in projects aimed at strengthening intermodal connections within the province’s port and transportation network.
$232 million will be allocated to the development of an efficient and sustainable marine transportation system that protects marine ecosystems, including:
- $200 million ($25 million from government and $175 million from public and private partners) for the development of an “intelligent economic corridor” in the St. Lawrence. The main focus of this project will be to leverage the use of digital technology in order to integrate and optimize port operations and related activities, increase the safety and efficiency of commercial navigation, and compile and share data related to port and shipping activities. A (soon to be formed) consultative committee – which will include industry representatives – will provide the government with input on stakeholder needs as this project starts to move forward;
- $5 million for the establishment of a research program aimed at mitigating the impacts of navigation on marine ecosystems;
- $20 to support ongoing work related to managing the risks of maritime incidents.
$394 million will be allocated to community groups and other stakeholders for new projects that support regional economic development, including the establishment of port-industrial zones and logistics hubs.
We will be closely following work on all of these projects as they start to take shape and will provide members with additional information as it becomes available.