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Transportation and Logistics

Greater Montréal is a freight transportation hub strategically located in eastern North America; it boasts a high concentration of air, maritime, road and rail transportation companies. Know-how, rapid intermodality, option to go further inland by ship—an advantage that is both economical and environmental, proximity to the continent’s major markets and easy access to other big markets are the key success factors for this strategic sector of the economy.

At a glance

  • 122,000 jobs
  • 6,000 establishments
  • Canadian leaders, including Air Canada, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Groupe Robert, Logistec, Oceanex, Purolator and TransForce.
  • International leaders: UPS, FedEx, MSC, Hapag-LLoyd, CMA-CGM, Kuehne + Nagel and Panalpina.

Top Eight Reasons to Choose Greater Montréal

1. Direct access to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) market: 460 million consumers

Greater Montréal is a freight transportation hub strategically located in eastern North America; it boasts a high concentration of air, maritime, road and rail transportation companies. Know-how, rapid intermodality, option to go further inland by ship—an advantage that is both economical and environmental, proximity to major markets on the continent and easy access to other major markets are the key success factors for this strategic sector of the economy.

2. Free flow of goods across borders

According to the World Economic Forum’s Enabling Trade Index (2013), Canada was ranked first out of all G7 countries and ninth out of 132 countries assessed for the efficiency of various factors relating to access to markets, border administration, transportation and communications infrastructure, and business climate, to determine the ease of flow of goods across the border and to their final destination.

3. Dense and efficient infrastructures

  • Two international airports serving the Montréal region: Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau (passengers) and Mirabel (freight).
  • The Port of Montréal, with service to and from more than 100 countries, is the east coast leader when it comes to shipping containers and offers the most direct link between Europe and North America. Montréal is also one of the busiest inland ports in the world and a strategic hub for shipping freight across the Atlantic.
  • An integrated network linking Greater Montréal to major North American economic centres. The deregulated North American environment ensures very competitive trucking costs and efficient cross-border traffic.
  • An integrated railway network linking Greater Montréal to the entire railway network in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Canadian Pacific and Canadian National tracks run thousands of kilometres between Montréal and Vancouver and towards major U.S. cities.

4. Educational and training programs tailored to the needs of the industry allow companies in the sector to draw from a skilled and versatile workforce

  •  Universities such as École polytechnique de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University offer specialized undergraduate- and graduate- level training, including:

Bachelor of Business Administration with a third year focused on operation and production management

Bachelor of Engineering in operations and logistics

Master of Business Administration (MBA for executives), part time with a specialization in logistics and transportation

Master of Business Administration in logistics chain management

Master’s degree (or specialized graduate degree) in industrial engineering (logistics option)

  • Colleges such as CÉGEP André-Laurendeau, CÉGEP Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Collège de Valleyfield, LaSalle College and Collège Lionel-Groulx offer programs in:

Supply management
Road transport management
International intermodal logistics
Border procedures
Transportation logistics engineering

5. Multilingual workforce

Over half of Greater Montréal’s population is bilingual (French/English), and nearly one-fifth speaks at least three languages.

6. R&D community especially active in the sector

Several research centres in the region are working to improve transportation and logistics procedures:

  • Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT)
  • Montréal International Logistics Institute
  • HEC Montréal’s Carrefour logistique
  • Canada Research Chair in Distribution Management
  • Canada Research Chair in Stochastic Simulation and Optimization

7. Highly attractive financial and tax incentives for businesses in the transportation and logistics sector

  • R&D tax credit up to 15% from the federal government and 17.5% (refundable) from the Québec government
  • Financial assistance for job creation and training from the Québec government
  • Tax holiday for researchers and foreign experts
  • Assistance program for investment project feasibility studies
  • Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
  • ESSOR fund for major projects

8. The most affordable operating costs in North America

Running a business costs less in Greater Montréal than in other major North American cities. According to KPMG’s 2013 “Competitive Alternatives” study, Greater Montréal is ranked first among the 20 largest North American cities in terms of competitive total operating costs mainly due to the relatively low cost of workforce, electricity, and office or industrial space.


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