The Québec Port Authority (QPA) has reached an agreement with Hutchison Ports and Canadian National Railway (CN) to build and operate a container terminal with an investment of C$775m ($574m).

To be known as Laurentia, the project will be jointly funded by the three partners.

QPA said that it selected Hutchison Ports following a competitive process where leading global port operators were invited to submit proposals to participate in the project.

QPA president and CEO Mario Girard said: “We have chosen Hutchison Ports as it is a world-class operator, with customer-focused experience who shares our business vision regarding supply chain efficiency, innovation, safety and environmental concern.

“Today, through a joint venture with Hutchison Ports and CN, we are setting the stage for this project to become a North American success in terms of business and social acceptability, not to mention a vector of economic development for Québec, allowing St Lawrence to gain additional growth and competitiveness with US ports.”

Under the terms of the contract, Hutchison Ports will develop the environmentally and technologically advanced cargo-handling facility in North America.

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Laurentia will be a deepwater terminal project and can accommodate the new generations of very large ships.

The project is expected to provide C$500m in economic benefits and support an average of 1,267 jobs per annum during the construction phase alone, according to a study from KPMG.

“The project is expected to generate C$84m ($62.19m) in economic benefits every year and create nearly 800 jobs.”

The project is expected to generate C$84m ($62.19m) in economic benefits every year and create nearly 800 jobs, including 500 direct jobs in Québec.

The deepwater container terminal project is currently under an environmental assessment process with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

With Laurentia’s agreement, Hutchison Ports’ global network increases to 52 ports covering 27 countries, including the UK, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, China, Pakistan, Egypt, Argentina, Mexico, and Panama.