This section provides a brief overview of some of the recent public and private investments made at Maritime Transportation System (MTS) ports. This list is not comprehensive; instead it illustrates the wide range of investments that can be made to help increase trade and traffic, as well as the variety of funding sources that ports are using to fund these investments. Greater detail on state, provincial, and federal funding programs is provided at on the port infrastructure strategy page.
Investments vary widely between ports and can be as simple as grading land to create more storage space, or as complex as construction of entirely new container terminals. Port investments do not have to be “on the water,” and many ports have made substantial investments in improving their road and railway connections to support the efficient movement of freight. Also, investments do not have to be limited to the construction of physical infrastructure; they can also take the form of new partnerships such as agreements to work on marketing port services.
Port investments, particularly public investments, often require a combination of funds from a variety of sources like national, regional, and local governments. In the case of Canadian ports, some of the investments profiled below also included elements of private funding.
Port of Montreal
The Port of Montreal is downstream of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and thus is not subject to the same vessel size restrictions as Great Lakes ports. Therefore, Montreal is capable of handling much larger vessels such as large container ships and cruise ships. Recent investments at the port include new or expanded infrastructure, as well as information technology improvements. Some of these investments are:
- A $197 million (CAD) expansion of the Viau Container Terminal, which more than doubled Montreal’s container handling capacity and allows the port to accommodate larger container ships. The project started in 2015 and was concluded in December 2020. Funding sources for this project include $27 million (CAD) from Infrastructure Canada’s Building Canada Fund, as well as funding from the Montreal Port Authority, and a private terminal operator (Termont).
- The Grand Quay cruise terminal was recently renovated. The $78 million (CAD) project was completed in 2017 in time for Montreal 375th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the Confederation.
- In 2020, Montreal began preparatory work for construction of an additional, entirely new container terminal in Contrecoeur. Construction of this terminal is expected to run between 2020 and 2025 and will allow Montreal to accommodate future container cargo growth.
In 2016, Montreal introduced the Trucking PORTal web-based application to reduce wait times at port container terminals. Investments were also made to improve the road gates to control and dispatch the trucks among the terminals.
Port of Quebec
Like Montreal, The Port of Quebec City is not subject to the vessel size and seasonality restrictions of the Great Lakes and is capable of handling much larger vessels. 2019 is expected to be a record year in terms of investments. Port infrastructure expenditures should be $70 million (CAD) and combined public and private investments are expected to reach $169 million (CAD). Recent and planned investments at the port include:
- A 2019 agreement with the City of Lévis to manage its cruise wharf, the Quai Paquet for five years.[EO2]
- In 2018, a $30 million (CAD) investment was made to the cruise terminal. The Government of Quebec contributed 50% of the costs.[EO3]
- In 2018, the Port unveiled proposals for a new deepwater container terminal project. The $400 million (CAD) project would add a container terminal on the St. Lawrence with an annual capacity of 500,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor
The Port of Indiana - Burns Harbor is located at the southern end of Lake Michigan, east of Chicago. The Port is operated by the Ports of Indiana, a self-funded port authority that was created by the Indiana General Assembly.
In 2017, Burns Harbor was awarded a $9.85 million (USD) federal Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant to support expansion of barge, rail, and truck infrastructure. The port is adding 2.3 acres of cargo terminal space, 4.4 miles of railroad track and two new rail yards. The port is also expanding dock walls and paving new dock space, and creating a truck marshalling yard to reduce local road congestion. The total cost of this infrastructure expansion is expected to be $20 million (USD), and work is expected to start in 2019.
Port of Duluth-Superior
The Port of Duluth-Superior is located at the southwestern end of Lake Superior, and bills itself as the world’s largest freshwater port by tonnage. The port is major shipment point for bulk cargo like iron ore, coal, and grain. Recent investments include:
- A rehabilitation of the dockwalls at Cenex Harvest States’ elevators in Superior, Wisconsin. This 2017 project was supported by a $1.7 million (USD) grant from the State of Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance Program.
- An $18 million (USD) rehabilitation of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s C&D Docks and convert them into outdoor laydown space for cargo. This rehabilitation work included sheet pile reconstruction, dredging berths, and brownfield pollution remediation. Funding sources for the project included a $10 million (USD) TIGER grant, and a $2.75 million (USD) Minnesota Port Development Assistance grant.
Port of Monroe
The Port of Monroe is located on the western end of Lake Erie, and is Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie. Monroe is a relatively small port, and cargo has grown significantly in the past three years. Some of this growth has been supported by four years’ worth of infrastructure investment and new partnerships, which have included:
- Construction of a $4 million (USD) new dock, which was partially funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
- Completion of $1.3 million (USD) in security and equipment investments. These investments allowed authorization of participation in US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) reimbursable services agreement, which allows the port to reimburse CBP for inspection costs, and creates opportunities for handling of new international cargos at the port.
Port of Hamilton
The Port of Hamilton is located on Lake Ontario, southwest of Toronto. It has traditionally served as a major steel production center, but its current cargos are diverse and include a large amount of agricultural products. Recent investments at Hamilton include:
- The completion of a new grain export terminal owned by G3, which opened in 2017. This $50 million (CAD) private investment includes a 50,000-tonne storage facility, new truck unloading systems, and both rail and water connections.
- The $35.5 (CAD) million Westport Modernization Project, half of which is funded by a $17.7 million (CAD) National Trade Corridors Fund grant, with the remaining funds provided by the Hamilton Port Authority. Modernization work includes including reconfiguration of the port’s layout to create new parcels for development, improving rail access to additional parcels, replacing dock walls, and increasing storage capacity. This project started in 2018 and will be complete in 2020.
Port of Thunder Bay
The Port of Thunder Bay is located on western Lake Superior, making it the furthest inland port in Canada. Its central inland location means that it serves as a key eastbound export point for agricultural products from prairie provinces. The major recent investment in Thunder Bay is a $15 million (CAD) Terminal Reconfiguration Project for the Keefer Terminal, which is being supported by $1 million (CAD) from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, and $7.5 million (CAD) from the National Trade Corridors Fund. Improvements include the construction of 50,000 square feet of heated storage space, expansion of outdoor storage, upgrades to railroad tracks, and reconfiguration of dock areas. The project is expected to be complete in 2020.