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Port of Montreal: security is a top priority

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Author(s): Félixpier Bergeron, Director: Security and Fire Prevention, the Port of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

The Port of Montreal is a major international port that handles some 30 million tonnes of highly diversified cargo annually. It is a linear port, stretching along 25 kilometres of waterfront between the city of Montreal and the St. Lawrence River.

Providing the highest level of security both on water and on land is a top priority for the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the federal agency that administers the Port of Montreal and takes a proactive approach to ensuring the safety and security of cargo and the people who work in and live near the port.

Montreal was the first Canadian port to comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code in 2004, and with Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program, which improves security by requiring MPA personnel and workers holding key positions in the port to undergo a security clearance process. The entire perimeter of the Port of Montreal as well as cargo-handling terminals leased to private stevedoring companies are lighted and protected by 2.5-metre-high fencing.

Port Security Plan

The MPA has its own Port Security Plan that integrates the more than 20 facilities operating in the Port of Montreal. The integrated Security Plan was adopted in 2004 and is updated regularly. Canadian law requires that each terminal operator in the port be responsible for security on the territory it occupies, yet a Port Security Committee that includes stakeholders such the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Sûreté du Québec (SQ or Quebec Police Force), the City of Montreal Police Department, the City of Montreal and other fire departments, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and terminal operators was established for the development of monitoring, surveillance mechanisms and intervention plans.

Under the port’s Emergency Intervention Plan, the RCMP, SQ and municipal police and fire-prevention services are granted immediate access to the port at any time, as are CBSA and immigration agents, as well as Environment Canada. The MPA works closely with the CBSA in applying the latter’s programs, such as radiation detection, aimed at enhancing border and trade chain security.


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