Montreal port CEO says need for federal cash 'urgent' as expansion cost balloons

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MONTREAL — The cost of the Montreal port expansion has ballooned by nearly 50 per cent, prompting its CEO to call for more cash from the federal government.

Martin Imbleau, who heads the Montreal port authority, claims it can wait only a few weeks for the additional funding he's requested from Ottawa to finance the new shipping container terminal, dubbing the need "urgent."

The price tag has risen from a $950-million ceiling to about $1.4 billion as a result of inflation, say two sources who were not authorized to speak on the matter publicly due to confidential negotiations.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the federal government is committed to supporting the expansion, but has yet to give an answer on whether or how much Ottawa might provide.

The new terminal about 50 kilometres downstream of downtown Montreal in Contrecoeur, Que., would boost the port's container capacity by 60 per cent, as Canada’s supply chain nears what a federal task force has deemed a breaking point.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank pledged a $300-million loan to the project in 2019, and the Quebec government allotted a $75-million grant in latest budget, on top of the $55 million already earmarked.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press