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The Quebec Port Authority (QPA) yesterday announced the signing of a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and CN to build and operate a new container terminal known as project Laurentia.The CA$775 million project will be financed through the joint investment of all three partners. In addition, the QPA is in discussions with federal and provincial governments to complete the financing, according to a QPA press release.Previously, the project was known as Beauport 2020. The agreement will increase Hutchison Ports' global network to 52 ports spanning 27 countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Argentina, Mexico and Panama.Hutchison Ports — which handles nearly 85 million 20-foot equivalent units in cargo per year — was selected after a competitive process in which QPA invited the leading international port operators to provide proposals to participate in the project.According to the agreement, Hutchison will build the "most environmentally and technologically advanced cargo-handling facility in North America," QPA officials said."In an economy driven by consumer spending-derived freight, long haul supply chains need to be modern, cost effective and reliable," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest. "Hutchison is a world class container operator and we are confident that we are partnering with a group that can make the project a success."The project will make Quebec City Hutchison Ports' gateway to North America's East Coast, said Eric Ip, group managing director of Hutchison Ports."With its fully intermodal deep-water port, its strategic location to reach the Midwest market, and the strong support shown by the local authorities, the Quebec project has all the attributes to be successful in this highly important market," he said.