Port of Montreal says 2017 was a record year

The Port of Montreal says cargo traffic grew seven per cent to a record 38 million tonnes in 2017.

Canada's second-largest port also welcomed 114,527 cruise passengers, a 33 per cent leap in one year.

The growth in passengers resulted from more cruises stopping to mark Canada's 150th birthday and the 375th celebrations of Montreal's founding.

The preliminary results were released Wednesday at an event awarding the gold-headed cane to the captain of the container ship Ottawa Express.

For 179 years, the cane has been given annually to the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover.

Last year marked the first full year of operations for a new container terminal that can handle 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The port is pushing for approval of another terminal that would accommodate 1.15 million TEU containers.

Although the final tally for St. Lawrence Seaway traffic is expected to be released next week, a spokesman said it should be up around 8.5 per cent for 2017 as reported in the first 11 months of the year.

That growth was largely attributable to a 35 per cent increase in iron ore tonnes destined for Asia. General cargo was up 28 per cent and dry bulk 12 per cent. Grain was down 10.5 per cent.