Collaboration between the ports of Rotterdam and Baie-Comeau

17 June 2022
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The port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the Port of Baie Comeau in Canada have agreed to jointly explore the potential for future growth and development of the Port of Baie-Comeau.

The ports have agreed to execute a Master Plan Study including cargo flow analyses and technical port infrastructure assessments. The study will also include analysis for production and use potential of green energy in the industrial zone, such as wind and solar power, bioenergy and green hydrogen. The Port of Baie-Comeau and the port of Rotterdam intend to work in close co-operation with the City of Baie-Comeau, Government of Canada, Government of Quebec, the Pessamit First Nation community and other regional and commercial stakeholders.

Skyline Rotterdam

The Société du Plan Nord is supporting this development plan by investing CAD $250,000. The amount awarded comes from the Opportunity envelope of the Government of Quebec's 2020-2023 Northern Action Plan.

Port of Rotterdam is a globally operating deep water seaport, with the capacity to handle the largest ships in the world, receiving 30.000 sea vessels per year. It stretches some 40-45 kilometres inland, has both the port and industrial zone under its care, with over 3.000 private companies working to handle large volumes of cargo and all logistics for these, for all types of trade, containers, dry bulk, liquid bulk and break-bulk. It is the largest port of Europe and the number ten port of the world. Together with Houston and Singapore it is also known for its bunkering facilities for ships, and it is the Energy Gateway for Europe, with some 13% of all energy consumed in Europe entering Europe via Rotterdam and meeting some 40% of industrial demand. The port of Rotterdam is committed to the safety and efficiency of its port operations and has in recent years taken on a leading role in the Digitisation of ports. The Green Transition has been the most important strategic theme for the port in the past decade. The transition of the port to reduce carbon emissions and receive, handle and distribute the zero emission fuels and feedstocks of the future is in full swing now, with major infrastructure projects and many activities going on to meet climate targets, positioning the port of Rotterdam as one of the greenest ports in the world and as the Hydrogen hub for NW Europe.

The Canadian East-Coast deep-water port of Baie-Comeau recently changed ownership from Transport Canada to the Baie-Comeau Port Management Corporation. The port is situated in the Province of Québec, on the North Shore of the Saint Lawrence River, near the mouth of the Manicouagan River in the Baie des Anglais. It now has a large Cargill cereals terminal (the largest storage capacity for cereals in Canada) and an Alcoa aluminium smelter, powered for 99% with electricity from green sources. The port provides logistic services for the mining and the manufacturing industry of North-East Quebec and is connected to the national railroad network leading to the American Midwest area and all major inland markets. Its aim as a port is to further increase its capacity to be an exporting hub for the manufactured products, natural resources, mining, cereals and green energy industry in the area, as well as developing port and industrial areas to attract new green industry clients to operate in the port. The Port currently works as an overflow port also for other ports and terminals in the region and is keen to work together with ports and terminals in the vicinity that are now working to their maximum capacity. The port has 24/7, 365 days per year availability of Operations if so required, as it does not freeze over in Winter. Quite recently, Ottawa and Quebec Governments allocated CAD 15 million (USD 11,9 million/EUR 10.9 million) to a feasibility study in Canada for the extension of the Dolbeau[1]Mistassini existing railway up to Baie-Comeau railway and maritime terminal.

The city of Baie-Comeau has a long-standing Industrial tradition and has always had an international outlook, with Paper Mills, Saw Mills, Aluminium mills and Power generation at the root of its original industrial activities in the 19th and 20th Century. Many workers came to Baie-Comeau from the US and various other parts of the world to settle in Baie-Comeau. Baie-Comeau is home to the Pessamit First nation community, as it is part of her traditional land called “Nitassinan”.

“We have been in talks with the Port Authority of Baie-Comeau for a while now. We congratulate them on their new position as owner of the port assets and we look forward very much to the next steps in our co-operation and to exploring the full potential of Baie-Comeau as a green port and industrial zone together with the Port Authority, the City of Baie-Comeau and the Pessamit First Nation community.”

René van der Plas
Director Port of Rotterdam International

"The plan will allow the port to fully play its role in the new decarbonized economy, focused on the optimal use of our infrastructure and resources for the benefit of the St. Lawrence economy, Quebec and the world. We are undertaking this work with the feeling of being at the forefront of the energy transition."

Karine Otis
Executive Director of Port of Baie-Comeau

“Our organization has always been convinced of the importance of the Port of Baie-Comeau in global trade and the energy transition. We are honored and very excited to undertake this project in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the City, the Société du Plan Nord and the Pessamit First nation community”.

Marc Lefebvre
Chairman of the board of Port of Baie-Comeau

“Ports are an integral part of the world economy, serving as hubs for economic activity, employment, trade, and the flow of products and resources. They have also been the site of significant progress in innovation, clean technologies, and climate aligned best practices. I welcome this agreement between the Port of Baie-Comeau and the Port of Rotterdam Authority – it is an example of the kind of international collaboration we need to enhance our infrastructure, reinforce our supply chains, and support the expanded application and production of clean energy.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources Canada