Rick Heimann, Port Director
Portside, A Ports of Indiana Publication – 2016 Issue 1
PORTAGE, Ind. - The province of Quebec and the state of Indiana recently launched a new partnership to explore the development of increased maritime trade between the districts. Quebec is a key trading partner for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor because the province serves as a gateway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.
In September, Quebec's Minister of International Affairs and Indiana's Lieutenant Governor joined officials from the Ports of Indiana and Fednav Limited at the port to announce the new initiative.
"The province of Quebec and the state of Indiana are connected by more than just water," said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, "We share strong manufacturing sectors, robust multimodal transportation systems, and a heavy reliance on Great Lakes shipping. As two of the leading maritime economies on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway, Quebec and Indiana represent a large part of the business activity generated by shipping in this region. We hope this maritime partnership will lead to increased opportunities for collaboration between our economies."
Since the announcement, the Port of Indiana has logged two export shipments to Quebec terminals and hosted a 20-person trade mission from Quebec which included the province’s directors of North American markets and economic affairs, and leaders from several Quebec ports and logistics companies.
This new partnership followed the recent unveiling of the Quebec Maritime Strategy, which is an ambitious plan that seeks to generate more than 30,000 jobs and $9 billion in the province's maritime industry by 2030.
"Indiana is a significant economic partner of Quebec in the Midwest, especially with respect to maritime transportation," stated Christine St-Pierre, Quebec Minister of International Relations and Francophone, during her visit to the port, "This partnership with Indiana shows that the new Quebec Maritime Strategy already has a strong, positive impact in our relations with our largest trading partner, the United States. This bodes well for the future, as Quebec's exports to the Midwest have grown by .30 percent since 2010."
The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor also shares a strong business partnership with the Quebec-based Fednav Limited, a leading Great Lakes shipping line, Fednav provides regular ocean service to the Port of Indiana and is the parent company for the port's general cargo terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals.
Within the new initiative, Quebec and Indiana have identified short-sea shipping as a factor of regional economic development that would benefit from greater regional collaboration. Short-sea shipping is especially important because it facilitates the delivery of supplies along trade routes that have rail and highway capacity constraints and infrastructure challenges.
In Quebec, under the leadership of the Marine Industry Forum, the Quebec Short-Sea Shipping Round Table is fully engaged in the promotion and the development of short-sea shipping, acting as a hub of short-sea related information and expertise. Short-sea shipping currently accounts for 20 percent of shipping traffic in St. Lawrence River ports and its development is one of the key priorities of the Quebec Maritime Strategy.
Indiana currently handles nearly 30 million tons of cargo per year on short-sea shipping movements across the Great Lakes, predominantly consisting of iron ore for the steel mills located in Northwest Indiana.