“After reaching one of its highest peaks ever last year, traffic handled at the Port of Montreal was up again in the first six months of 2005, and there is nothing to indicate a slowdown in the making,” Mr. Dominic J. Taddeo, the Montreal Port Authority’s president and chief executive officer, said.

As of June 30, the port’s total traffic of 11.9 million tons was up by 7.8%, or roughly 865,000 tons, compared with total traffic for the same period in 2004.

A leader among container ports serving the North Atlantic market, the Port of Montreal handled 5.6 million tons of containerized cargo in the first semester of this year, which amounted to some 425,000 tons, or 8.2%, more than the same period last year. By the end of June, the port handled 611,770 teus, or 6.3% more than the 575,467 it handled in the first six months of 2004.

“Barring a truly unforeseen slowdown in the markets, we forecast that 2005 will be another record year for container-handling at the Port of Montreal,” said Mr. Taddeo. “The North Atlantic, which is by far our main market, is not soaring the way the Pacific market is, but we are still seeing significant growth. That, combined with our port’s advantages, has led our container traffic to new heights.”

Strong deliveries of copper cathodes and anodes, and steel, led to an increase of 24% in non-containerized general cargo traffic, which totaled close to 278,000 tons.

In the liquid-bulk category, petroleum product traffic increased by 2.3%, or more than 56,500 tons, totaling 2.5 million tons by the end of the first six months of the year. As for other liquid bulk (xylene, toluene, asphalt, methanol, etc.), traffic totaled close to 613,000 tons, ahead of last year’s first-semester results by 26.8%, or some 129,500 tons.

At the grain terminal, marine traffic amounted to more than 547,000 tons, a decrease of 24.4%, or close to 177,000. The port’s only decrease was mainly due to a lesser-quality harvest. Finally, other dry bulk (iron ore, raw sugar, copper ore, fertilizer, scrap metal, etc.) brought in traffic of 2.3 million tons, an increase of some 375,000 tons, or 19.5%.