Sept-Îles, July 8, 2009 – The Port of Sept-Îles team, in the presence of a number of its partners, including Mr. Ghislain Lévesque, mayor of the City of Sept-Îles, Mr. Georges-Ernest Grégoire, chief of the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Band Council, and Mr. Claude Parent of Pomerleau, proudly announced the official launch of construction of the Cruise Ship Dock today at a groundbreaking ceremony.

The Pomerleau construction company was awarded the $18.2 million contract to build a dock at the far end of the Mgr. Blanche wharf to accommodate ships up to 315 meters long and carrying up to 2,500 passengers. This major project, which will take 18 months to complete and be ready by fall 2010, will be one of the biggest investments ever in Port facilities since the construction of the La Relance wharf in 1986.

Attracting international cruise ships to Sept-Îles has required nearly $30 million in investments in three separate areas port facility enhancement, improvements to tourism facilities in Sept-Îles, and the creation of tourism facilities in the Innu community. Funding for construction of the wharf was recently secured with the May 19 announcement that both the federal and provincial governments would back the project to the tune of $6.6 million and $6.4 million respectively. The remaining funds will come from the Port, the City of Sept-Îles, and the Band Council.

“After joining local residents in celebrating the arrival of the first international cruise ship to visit Sept-Îles – Holland America Line Inc’s MS Maasdam – we are very pleased to officially break ground and begin what is sure to make Sept-Îles a premier stop on the St. Lawrence River in the coming years,” stated Port of Sept-Îles Chair of the Board of Directors Carol Soucy and President and CEO Pierre D. Gagnon.

The Port of Sept-Îles is at the forefront of the region’s economy and plays a key role in its development. The Port’s annual economic impact has been estimated at $1 billion and generates some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs.