An essential link for developing a new rail and maritime route to the North

Sept-Iles, November 14, 2008 – The rail transshipment center at La Relance port terminal was officially inaugurated today in the presence of Quebec Premier Jean Charest and many representatives of the North Shore socioeconomic community. This new strategic port infrastructure will contribute to the development of a new rail and maritime transport route for the region as well as to Northern Quebec.

Thanks to investments from the Port of Sept-Iles and the Quebec government, this transshipment center will combine rail and maritime transport, two complementary and sustainable means of transport which notably help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Investments totalling $13.7 million since 2005 have made possible the construction of a 1.8 km railway link between the North Shore and the North American network in 2006, and more recently the construction of a rail shed, the upgrading of a railcar ferry landing pier, and the completion of the rail transshipment center at La Relance terminal.

?This new transport route, which represents a choice alternative to the road network, gives regional businesses access to the North American rail network via a railcar ferry between Sept-Iles and Matane. The railway route towards Labrador and New Quebec is now accessible from anywhere in North America, a major strategic advantage for the region,? said Port of Sept-Iles president and CEO Pierre D. Gagnon.

The Port of Sept-Iles is currently undergoing significant expansion resulting from a boom in the world iron ore market, and these new services will strengthen the Port of Sept-Iles’ position as a strategic intermodal port in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes corridor, as well as a future rail and maritime transport hub to supply and develop the North.

?The major industries in the region were demanding this railway development in order to increase their competitiveness, their access to markets, and their business potential. The completion of these new infrastructures reflects the vision shared by the Port and its industrial partners, as well as the Quebec government’s determination to actively combat climate change by promoting sustainable means of transport,? said Board chair Carol Soucy.

The Port of Sept-Iles is at the forefront of the regional economy and is a key player in its economic development. Its economic impact has been evaluated at nearly 4,000 direct and indirect jobs and annual business activity worth $1 billion.