Sept-Îles, January 27, 2009 — The Port of Sept-Îles, in the presence of its major partners, the City of Sept-Îles, the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Band Council, and Destination Sept-Îles Nakauinanu, announced the awarding of a $356,000 contract to Axor Experts-Conseils for detail engineering and the preparation of tender specifications for the cruise ship dock.

Following the preliminary studies begun last May, this new step in engineering efforts will result in the production of final plans for the dock, including cost estimates. It will allow the Port to launch a call for bids for the construction of the dock, which could begin in summer 2009.

With the preliminary engineering phase complete, the Port of Sept-Îles was also proud to unveil the final conceptual plans for the cruise ship dock. The new dock will be located at the Mgr. Blanche wharf and will be able to accommodate ships up to 315 meters long and with a 2,500 passenger capacity. “With an 18 month schedule, this project of almost $20 million is one of the largest infrastructure investments to take place at the Port since work on the Relance wharf in 1986,” declared President and CEO Pierre D. Gagnon.

At the same time, requests for funding from both levels of government to support the cruise ship project are moving forward. All partners have submitted their respective business plans to Canada Economic Development and Quebec’s Ministère du Tourisme. “Working with a three-party financial participation model, we have already confirmed the local contribution from the Port of Sept-Îles, the City, and the Band Council, and are hoping to receive confirmation from the two other levels of government by spring,” said Carol Soucy, Chairman of the Board of the Port of Sept-Îles.

“The arrival of the cruise ships is a great opportunity to diversify our economy. We are proud to see the Port, our greatest development tool, work successfully in close collaboration with its partners to accomplish these major steps towards developing a port of call for cruise ships in the most beautiful bay in the Americas,” declared Sept-Îles mayor Ghislain Lévesque.

“The completion of this major project in partnership with the Port and the City of Sept-Îles helps draw our communities together. Promoting Innu culture through this cruise ship project is a sign of progress in restoring the central role of culture within our own community,” stated Band Council Vice-Chief Mike McKenzie.

“By awarding this cruise ship dock detail engineering contract, we have taken another crucial step toward completing this community project and ensuring its viability,” added Marc Brouillette, Chairman of the Board of Destination Sept-Îles Nakauinanu.

The Port of Sept-Îles is at the forefront of the region’s economy and plays a key role in its development. It generates some $1 billion annually, and creates some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs.