Sept-Îles, August 10, 2011 – The 53rd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities (ACPA) kicked off on August 8 in the presence of the Honourable Denis Lebel, the federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and Serge Simard, the Quebec Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, and Minister responsible for the Saguenay–Lac Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions. Over 200 delegates attended the opening ceremony and business sessions, and were won over by the local hospitality.

The ministers spoke on the topic: “Ports – Linking Natural Resources to Canada’s Prosperity,” emphasizing the importance of ports to Canada’s economy and their crucial role in transporting the country’s natural resources. Minister Simard remarked that ports are especially important in Quebec, notably in the Côte-Nord region, which is experiencing an incomparable economic boom. He went on to say that Sept-Îles was the right venue for this event, considering the investments estimated at more than $80 billion that will be generated by Plan Nord over the next 25 years.

The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Sauvé, a guest speaker at the event, discussed details of Plan Nord and its importance to the region and to Canada. He highlighted the significant opportunities and benefits that Plan Nord represents for the future of the maritime industry in Quebec and Canada.

This conference, last held in Sept-Îles 20 years ago, generated economic benefits estimated at more than a half million dollars. Significant support from the Sept-Îles community, notably performances by the Tam Ti Delam folk dance troupe and the Zoot Band, greatly impressed visitors from other Canadian ports. These shows helped highlight the wealth of local talent and the renowned hospitality of the Sept-Îles community.

“The success of this event is due largely to the excellent cooperation between the various partners and collaborators associated with hosting the event, including Carrefour La Baie and the City of Sept-Îles,” said Pierre D. Gagnon, President and CEO of the Port of Sept-Îles in his remarks at the closing session of the conference, which will return to Sept-Îles in 20 years.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION OF CANADIAN PORT AUTHORITIES

The Association of Canadian Port Authorities was founded in 1958 and brings together ports, harbours, and related marine interests into a single national association. The ACPA represents all Canada Port Authorities, various government entities, and companies doing business in the marine sector. The ACPA is the preeminent association for the advocacy and advancement of the Canadian port industry. Each year, Canada’s 17 port authorities handle over $160 billion worth of goods.

ABOUT SEPT-ÎLES PORT AUTHORITY

With a full range of high-performance equipment, the Port of Sept-Îles is North America’s leading iron ore port and will now become Canada’s second largest in terms of annual volume handled, with over 35 million tons.Sept-Îles’ port facilities play a vital and strategic role in the operation of a number of businesses from the region’s primary sector. The port’s annual economic impact is estimated at nearly $1 billion, with some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. Port activity at the Port of Sept-Îles therefore remains a significant source of wealth creation in Quebec and Canada.

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