High volume, swift traffic at Port of Montreal last year

In the United States, what many consider to be the hub of the world's trading ports, contract negotiations and labor disputes kept exports and imports from moving at a swift pace in 2014. But north of the border, financial results suggest that containers moved quite speedily, according to newly released data from the Montreal Port Authority (MPA).

"MPA handled 30 million tons of cargo last year."

Container volume rose 8 percent at Montreal-based ports last year when contrasted with 2013, MPA reported. In fact, port workers handled more than 30 million tons of cargo in the 12-month period.

Similarly robust numbers were observed for containerized cargo. MPA indicated that volume in this division rose 6 percent to 12.6 million on a year-over-year basis. The report stated that much of this had to do with ports handling a wider array of goods.

Sylvia Vachon, MPA president and CEO, indicated that in light of the current moribund world economic climate, 2014's numbers are very encouraging.

"Given the slow global economic recovery that characterized 2014, we can state that our results are more than satisfactory," Vachon said.

This was also reflected in MPA's revenues. Operating earnings for the province's port authority totaled more than $94 million, up 8 percent from 2013, the report revealed. With expenses dropping 0.6 percent to 81.2 million, net profits amounted to $14.5 million a slight uptick from year-ago levels.

Container volume at the Montreal Port Authority last year increased from 2013. Container volume at the Montreal Port Authority last year increased from 2013.

Dry bulk, grain volumes climb appreciably
Even more active than containerized cargo last year was dry bulk. In terms of growth, dry bulk saw the biggest jump from 2013, up 29 percent to 8.6 million tons, MPA reported. Canada's farmers helped contribute, particularly those who harvest grain. Grain volumes rose 55 percent. Most grain crop are grown in the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The only cargo that weakened in 2014 was liquid bulk. Settling at 9.2 million tons, volume was down 3 percent from 2013.

Canada's ports are a major contributor to the country's gross domestic product. Port activity in Montreal alone supports 16,000 jobs and $2.1 billion in economic growth.

The Port of Montreal is one of several main thoroughfares in Canada. At Port Metro Vancouver in British Columbia, this passageway handles more than 50 percent of all container cargo that comes into and out of the country, according to government data. Prince Rupert, also in British Columbia, and the Port of Halifax in Nova Scotia comprise Canada's "Big Four."