The Significance of the Port of Montreal
The Port of Montreal is the second largest port in Canada, after the Port of Vancouver, and one of the most crucial. The port is a diversified multi-billion dollar transshipment centre that handles all kinds of goods, containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk. The only container port in Quebec, it is a destination port served by the largest shipping lines in the world. It is also an intermodal hub with its own rail network dockside directly connected to Canada’s two national rail networks, Canadian National Railway (CNR) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Both railways also extend into the southern United States and are a key instrument for the integration of the economies of Canada and Mexico into that of the United States. The rapid train project of the Trudeau Liberals between Windsor and Montreal must also be seen in this context.
The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) also operates a Cruise Terminal and a Port Centre. According to the MPA, the port generates close to $2.6 billion yearly in Canadian GDP. On January 12, 2021, the Quebec Government granted $55 million to the new Contrecoeur container terminal project of the Port Authority on the South Shore, which involves the building of additional terminals.
The Maritime Employers Association (MEA) is a cartel of shipping monopolies. The Tremont Terminal (Termont Montréal Inc.), for example, is owned by Logistec Stevedoring Inc. (a subsidiary of Logistec Corporation), Cerescorp Company (a U.S.-based monopoly which owns and operates container terminals in Halifax and Vancouver), and Terminal Investment Limited. Logistec and Ceres operate in multiple ports, and hence are able to divert cargo. Logistec is an investor in the Contrecoeur project and operates stevedoring (the loading and unloading of ships) and other services in more than 20 ports in Canada, the Northeastern US, and the Great Lakes region. According to its website it also offers “agency assistance for foreign ships in Canada, marine transportation services for the Arctic coast, as well as such non-marine services as PCB management, environmental remediation, risk assessment, and repairing underground pipes and aqueducts.”
They are thus a lifeline for big private capital which demands they function on an uninterrupted basis at least cost to themselves as possible and, in their outlook, labour is a cost.
In addition, ports such as Montreal and Halifax are integrated into the war economy as part of the logistical infrastructure of the NATO bloc. NATO demands the ongoing modernization of this infrastructure under the pretext of “inter-operability” to move troops and war materiel to Europe, a central aim of the massive Defender 2020 war exercise. Ports Toronto, for example, includes as its corporate sponsors the NATO Association of Canada; the NATO-sponsored, US-organized Halifax International Security Forum; arms monopolies such as Lockheed Martin; and the Toronto Globe and Mail. For this reason, NATO deploys its warships to the ports on “visits” to promote its aims. These visits are designed to disinform the people. They have been vigorously opposed by the anti-war movement in Quebec as in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver.