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A project of The Port of Québec

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to the most common questions we receive. We invite you to send us any questions that are not addressed in this section by visiting our Contact Us page.

Innovation

How many trains and trucks will be in circulation during construction and in the future?

Nine containers out of 10 will leave the terminal and be transferred to rail. The other containers (10%) will be transported by truck and primarily be destined for markets in the greater Québec City region and Eastern Québec. It is estimated that by reducing the length of trips for certain importing and exporting clients, the Laurentia project will reduce truck transport by more than seven million kilometres every year. Once the Laurentia project is at full capacity, there will be 180 truck movements per day, with 90 trucks entering the terminal and the same 90 leaving. The traffic studies that have been completed show that the impacts of the Laurentia project on traffic will be minimal in relation to the capacity of the public road network.  

The project’s business model is based on rail intermodality and the use of CN’s existing infrastructure. At its maximum capacity, the container terminal will generate just over two trains per day of approximately 12,000 feet in length.

How many containers will the terminal be able to accommodate?

Once the terminal is fully operating, the annual volume of container handling will be 700,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), an impressive capacity that will boost port activities on the St. Lawrence River, restore some of its momentum, and strengthen its position in the containerized cargo sector.

Container volume is measured in TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unites). Actual containers come in 20-foot and 40-foot lengths, therefore one 40-foot container is measured as 2 TEUs. Currently, approximately 70-80% of all containers used in the industry are 40-foot in size and are measured as 2-TEUs. As a result, although Laurentia has a capacity of 700,000 TEUs annually, it is estimated that the capacity is actually closer to 450,000 ‘containers’ because 70% will be 40-foot in size and counted as 2-TEUs each.

Community

What are the next steps in the project?

Complete the impact assessment process in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012). The goal is to begin work on the new container terminal in 2021 for commissioning in 2025 subject to obtaining the required government authorizations, notably under the project’s impact assessment process conducted by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. 

How will the project be integrated into the current landscape?

The current landscape of Beauport Bay presents a visually symbiotic relationship between the urbanity of Québec City, the industrial appearance of the port facilities, and a picturesque natural landscape. The Québec Port Authority is aware of the importance of harmoniously integrating new infrastructure into the existing landscape. As a testament to its respectful approach to the Laurentia host site, numerous visual simulations were carried out as part of the project assessments. These simulations can be viewed on the website of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC). 

In addition, as part of the Beauport Bay Users Forum (Forum des usagers de la Baie de Beauport), we have called on the experts  to ensure that the project harmonizes with the current unified landscape. Among its efforts to improve Beauport Bay, the Users Forum has proposed a structure in the image of Québec City as seen from the river. The structure, which will bend along the length of the recreational zone, will serve as a visual screen, noise barrier, and functional enclosure between port facilities and recreational areas. With this in mind, we believe that the Laurentia project does more than integrate into the existing environment by contributing to its uniform, unbroken landscape.

Read more: Photo report on the redevelopment of Beauport Bay

How will Québec City benefit from this project?

As a historically important city for trade, Québec City has continued its strong commercial tradition since its beginnings. It is the mission of the Québec Port Authority to promote and develop maritime trade by serving the economic interests of the Québec City region and Canada, while remaining respectful of the community and the environment. 

With the addition of a container terminal on its wharves, the Laurentia project will put Québec City at the heart of international trade. As containerized maritime transport continues to grow, it is widely recognized that a deep-water container port is key on the global chessboard of intermodal logistics.

By making Québec City a major logistics hub in the maritime world, the Laurentia project has attracted the attention of global players who want to make Quebec City a catalyst for the development of local expertise. Indeed, once the project is completed, seven major international partners will pool their knowledge to use the container terminal as a lever for research and innovation in transportation logistics, and will be able to draw on the expertise at Quebec’s universities and other research centres. 

In addition, the Laurentia project will create numerous quality jobs (close to 7,000 during construction and close to 1,000 once in operation), in addition to creating a new economic supply chain for local businesses. Lastly, with annual economic spin-offs of close to $100 million, the project will contribute significantly to the region’s economic recovery. 

Read more: Laurentia: A catalyst for Québec’s know-how

Will the project be compatible with all existing recreational and tourism activities in the area?

Yes. 

Beauport Bay, an improved public space and recreational and tourism area

Access to facilities in Beauport Bay will remain unchanged. A $7M investment has already been announced to implement a plan developed in consultation with the Beauport Bay users forum to improve the infrastructure and services offered in Beauport Bay. Under this plan, a new launch ramp will be added, the boat parking area will be expanded, a new harbour master’s office will be built, space will be allotted for a sailing school, a new watch tower to ensure nautical safety will be built, and additional docks will be installed.

In order to improve the public space, the Port will add a brand‑new splash pad and a wading pool for children, as well as pergolas and Mobi-mat® access mats for people with reduced mobility.

We are aware that the changes in wind patterns caused by the project may affect sailing activities in Beauport Bay, and we are working with the Beauport Bay users forum to find appropriate mitigation and compensation measures.

A new urban park to maximize quality of life in the area

We are in the process of designing a new urban park near the site of the project in Beauport Bay to round out the high‑quality recreational facilities and give residents a new opportunity to enjoy the St. Lawrence River. Trees and shrubs will be planted to green an area of more than 430,000 square feet (over 40,000 m2, or an area larger than 5 professional soccer fields) in the Port of Québec, which, according to the Direction régionale de santé publique, will contribute to improving air quality.

 

Does the project have the social acceptance needed to move forward?

Laurentia has the support of:

  • 188 towns, cities and RCMs in central and eastern Quebec
  • More than 140 businesses
  • The Port of Québec participates in 200 meetings with local stakeholders every year
    • The Laurentia terminal is being developed in close collaboration with the community, with the goal of reflecting the concerns and expectations of numerous stakeholders.

A project whose economic and environmental impacts have been rigorously evaluated

Comprehensive evidence‑based data support the conclusion that Laurentia is a large‑scale port project that is safe and environmentally responsible, and that it will be a key driver of economic development in eastern Quebec and the province at large.

 

Why Beauport?

The port facilities in Beauport offer all the services required to operate a new maritime terminal. In addition, the water depth in the Beauport port sector is nearly 50 feet (15 metres), which makes the site a natural fit given international maritime needs. The Laurentia container terminal could not be located anywhere else along the St. Lawrence.

 

How will the surrounding neighbourhoods benefit from the project?

Starting in the first years of the terminal’s operation, the Port of Québec will invest at least $50,000 per year in a community fund as part of its ongoing commitment to the well‑being of neighbourhoods near the port. This amount will be increased by $200 for every direct job created by Laurentia, up to an annual maximum of $150,000 once the terminal is at full capacity, at which time it is expected to have 500 permanent employees. This calculation will be validated by an outside firm. Following a recent dialogue with the community, it was decided that a committee composed of residents of the Cité‑Limoilou borough will direct how this money will be divided among grassroots projects that will directly benefit neighbourhoods near the Port.

 

Economy

Why have a container terminal in Québec City?

The Laurentia project meets the new world standard for a shipping lane and port access with a water depth of 15 metres and provides a competitive option for accessing the United States’ northeastern market while allowing importers and exporters in Canada’s largest market to reduce their operating costs. 

This unique deep-water container terminal will allow Québec and Canada’s maritime transport market to regain some of the market share lost in recent years to ports on the east coast of the United States, in addition to boosting trade in the St. Lawrence River corridor and generating significant economic benefits.

In addition, the presence of a container terminal in Québec City will offer Quebecois companies, particularly those in the resource regions located further east, a new hub for their import and export activities, at better costs, by reducing transit times, ground transportation costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Who is funding the project?

The project’s three partners (Hutchison Ports, CN and the Port of Québec) have confirmed the injection of $595 million into the $775 million project, representing 77% of the funding. It is anticipated that governmental contributions will amount to $180 million, or 23% of the value, making it one of the largest private investments in the Greater Québec City area.

What is the economic impact of the project?

High‑quality jobs in Quebec and a significant development potential for our SMEs

Perfect for the post‑pandemic economic recovery

  • Significant job creation
    • Average of 1,700 jobs per year during the construction phase (4 years)
    • 1,000 well‑paid direct and indirect jobs per year during the operational phase, once the terminal has reached full capacity
  • Major economic benefits

Directly associated with the terminal

  • $700M in the construction phase
  • Nearly $100M annually in the operational phase
  • Structural economic benefits
    • Springboard for businesses in central and eastern Quebec
    • Ultra‑modern infrastructure that will drive transportation and logistics costs down
    • $139M annual productivity gains for Quebec import and export companies
  • Creation of a logistics and maritime innovation hub with a global reach in the Maizerets and Limoilou

 

 

 

Environment

Where can we find the project’s impact assessments?

You can view the documents submitted as part of the project impact assessment by visiting the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry on the Canadian Impact Assessment Agency’s website by clicking here

Will the project have an impact on air quality ?

No. The most comprehensive expert reports have concluded that the project will have no significant impact on air quality in either the construction or the operational phase.

Robust monitoring measures

Following the consultations held in fall 2020, the Port of Québec is making a firm commitment: It will put in place all required controls to ensure all air quality standards are strictly met during the terminal’s construction and operational phases.

Monitoring committee

The Port of Québec will create a dedicated monitoring committee for the Laurentia terminal project. The committee will be composed of local residents and community organizations, and will be tasked with supporting the Laurentia project office during the engineering and construction phases as well as once the terminal begins operations.

Focus on accurate information

In a decision handed down by the Superior Court of Québec on March 4, 2020, renowned independent experts demonstrated that dry bulk transhipment activities in the Beauport sector of the Port of Québec were responsible for less than 3% of all soil dusts linked to pollution in the Maizerets and Limoilou neighbourhoods.

 

 

Will Laurentia result in increased road transport?

Yes, but only slightly. Most cargo will get to the Laurentia terminal by train, and the terminal will reach its full capacity 10 years after the start of operations. No more than 10% of containers will be transported by truck, which means that in 2035, 90 trucks will enter the terminal every day from Monday to Saturday and leave before nightfall. It bears noting that these trucks are already on the roads, and the Laurentia terminal will in fact shorten their routes by sparing them from travelling all the way to Montréal, for instance. The result will be a direct and significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Terminal operations: Putting residents’ concerns front and centre

The Port is committed to working with local organizations, including the Ministère des Transports du Québec, to implement government regulations that would require all trucks coming in and out of the Laurentia terminal to use major highways and avoid urban thoroughfares in the areas around the Port, particularly Henri‑Bourrassa Boulevard and Charest Boulevard.

Laurentia will lower transportation costs for hundreds of businesses in Québec City and eastern Quebec and eliminate 7 million kilometres of trucking on the province’s roads every year.

  • The project’s business model relies chiefly on rail transportation, making the terminal both unique and highly competitive in eastern Canada.
  • The terminal has been designed to receive no more than 10% of total volume from trucks.

The shift to electric vehicles is happening fast

The impact on road transport is not significant, and our figures do not even account for the electrification of transportation, which is already happening and will only ramp up, per the Quebec government’s recent announcement, as the terminal scales to full capacity in 2035. By then, most trucks bringing cargo to Laurentia will be electric or hybrid, and the supply chain developed around the new terminal will be both sustainable and environmentally responsible.

Will Laurentia result in increased rail transport ?

No, the number of freight trains will remain the same. As a partner of the project, CN is well aware of the proximity of its facilities to population centres and is committed to doing everything in its power to mitigate the impacts of its operations.

  • To transport containers, the average 2 daily trains will be gradually extended to a maximum length of 12,000 feet (3,600 metres) once the terminal is at full capacity in 2035.
  • Some of the current bulk operations will be moved, with the bulk no longer being maintained in the yards in the Beauport sector.
  • All trains respect the speed limits set by Transport Canada to ensure the safety of rail operations.
  • Most of the cargo will be everyday consumer items.

What impact will the project have on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

 

The impact will be very positive. The project will cut GHG emissions from cargo transport by 18.5%. Plus, the terminal will be carbon neutral.

  • The Port of Québec promises to compensate for all GHG emissions during the construction phase, for example, by purchasing carbon offsets or planting trees.

 

Carbon neutralityin the operational phase

  • The Port’s objective is to operate Laurentia in such a way that makes its GHG emissions permanently carbon neutral.