SEPT-ÎLES, January 17, 2011 – The Port of Sept-Îles is pleased to announce today the initial observations from an exceptional year in its history. In addition to registering the highest business volume in thirty years with 25.1 million tons handled, compared to 19.8 million tons in 2009, the Sept-Îles Port Authority posted a record year with nearly $70 million invested in Port development.
The strong recovery of iron ore in 2010—with growth of 29%—pushed tonnage past the 25 million mark, a feat last achieved in 1981. Arrival of the new producer Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines and its shipments to Asia starting in July led to a 76% increase in volume at the Pointe-Noire terminal with 2.4 million tons handled.
The railcar ferry between Sept-Îles and Matane handled nearly 100,000 metric tons, an astounding 85% increase for La Relance terminal. This included almost 58,000 metric tons of aluminum travelling on the Blue Highway, up 42% from last year. It is worth noting that the railcar ferry service translated into an average of one fewer truck per hour on Route 138 over the entire year.
Investments in 2010 attained a level unparalleled since the Port’s inception. More than a quarter billion dollars of private funds and Port monies was invested in Port properties. At the peak of the season, the Port boasted more than 700 workers and five construction sites, including Pointe-Noire and La Relance terminals, the Consolidated Thompson project, and the cruise ship dock.
The past year was also marked by the opening of the cruise ship dock on October 4. Sept-Îles residents were invited to celebrate the arrival of the first ship at the new dock, a simply spectacular event. Over one thousand people came out to take part in festivities marking the departure of the Norwegian Spirit. Three ships dropped anchor in the Bay of Sept-Îles in 2010. More than 7,500 passengers and crew members took advantage of the unique appeal of Sept-Îles and its many services, with an average disembarkation rate of over 80%.
The Port of Sept-Îles also received two highly prestigious prizes in 2010, including the St. Lawrence Award from SODES (Société de développement économique du Saint-Laurent), given annually to recognize exceptional results and projects that have contributed to the economic development or enhancement of the St. Lawrence River. The second was the Transportation Excellence Award from AQTR (Association québécoise du transport et des routes), received jointly with CN for its railcar ferry service.
“Everything is in place for the Port of Sept-Îles to reclaim its position as the second largest Canadian port in 2011. A number of challenges await us again this year. Construction of a deepwater multi-user dock is expected to begin this year to meet the growing needs of our current and future users. We must provide high quality facilities for our partners so they can be more competitive in today’s market, and we will take the appropriate steps to reach our goals,” said president and CEO Pierre D. Gagnon.
“In the last year, both levels of government have supported future development of the Port of Sept-Îles by contributing to a number of key projects for our industries through the federal government’s Economic Stimulus Fund and Community Diversification Program (International Cruise Ports of Call component) as well as Québec’s Programme d’aide à la stratégie des croisières,” added Carol Soucy, chair of the board. “We have also benefited from an outstanding partnership with our users that led to the completion of these projects. On behalf of the entire Port of Sept-Îles team, I’d like to thank them for their support, which reflects their confidence in our flourishing region.”
ABOUT THE PORT OF SEPT-ÎLES
Boasting a variety of state-of-the-art facilities, the Port of Sept-Îles is one of North America’s leading iron ore ports and this year will become Canada’s second largest, with an anticipated annual volume of over 32 million tons. Sept-Îles’ port facilities play a vital and strategic role in the operations of a number of businesses active in 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.
The Port of Sept-Îles will also host some 200 delegates at the 53rd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities from August 7 to 10, 2011. Port activity at the Port of Sept-Îles therefore remains a significant source of economic and social wealth for the region, for Quebec, and for Canada.