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October 2016 Strategy for the Great Lakes and St.lawrence River Martime Transportation System

Context of the Conference

On June 15 in Detroit, Michigan, United States governors and premiers of Canadian provinces made public the first “regional strategy” designed to increase shipping in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river. This strategy proposes an integrated vision of the maritime system of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence and calls for better coordination of decisions between different jurisdictions and cooperation.

It plan to double marine trade, reduce the environmental footprint of the transport network in the region and support its industrial core. The strategy is expected to boost the regional economy by 5 000 billion US $ and create jobs in all regions.


The conference

The Conference of Governors and Premiers of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence (Conference) is a North American organization created in 1983 to encourage and facilitate environmentally responsible economic development in this region. Its action aims to promote regional cooperation agreements on issues of common interest, including the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes, water management, control of invasive species, international trade and the economic development the development of the maritime economy and tourism.
The work of the Conference concerns environmental protection and also economic development.  In 2009, in order to highlight environnemental priorities, President Barack Obama launched a restoration program with a fund of US $ 2 billion.

The nine key environmental priorities are the follwing: 

  • Ensure the region’s prosperity by growing the economy and creating jobs through the efficient use of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River maritime system.
  • Maintain and continuously improve a world-class regional transportation network with an integrated maritime system.
  • Establish a regional framework for achieving shared objectives, launching collaborative initiatives and leveraging funding opportunities for the maritime transportation system.
  • Improve the efficiency, competitiveness and resiliency of maritime transportation and the region’s multimodal
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By Gilles Couture

The St. Lawrence River is the shortest waterway between Europe and the centre of North America. The transport system St. Lawrence-Great Lakes therefore constitutes a lever important for economic activity and industrial of the American continent. It is with this in mind that the main objective of the Québec maritime strategy is to give a new impetus to shipping on the St. Lawrence River by investing in port infrastructure; energizing Quebec shipyards; developing intermodal transport and maritime tourism; as well as investing in the research and development of marine technology in order to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries and aquaculture industry.

This strategy will generate private investment over 4 billion dollars of which more than 2 billion dollars only in the logistic pole of the Montérégie-Ouest. Total public investment from the various levels of Governments in infrastructure would reach $ 4 billion. The first round of funding from the Quebec Government has a budget of $ 300 million to support private by 2020 investment projects while $ 200 million will support the Quebec port and intermodal infrastructure projects. In total, the Government of Quebec’s contribution is estimated 1 billion $ for the infrastructure funding other than those related to the logistic pole of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Industrial-port areas

Through its maritime strategy, the current Government intends to create sixteen areas industrial-port ZIP to improve linkages between modes of transport and integration into international trade. To implement the ZIP the Government intends to enter, by the month of June, 2016, 16 agreements to create local committees where municipalities, port authorities and relevant ministries will be represented. Their mandate will be to ensure regional consultation, develop a plan of development of the port authority, annually update this plan, collaborate with stakeholders responsible for the attraction of investments, and ensure the … Lire la suite



Who hasn’t dreamt of vacationing  in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean? Navigating gently on the waves of summer, tasting the salt air or discovering new cultures. Cruises will take us there. From the easy comfort of our cabin, we can explore the world.

The cruise industry is growing. For years the seas were accessible to few, but today, cruises have democratized the access to eater and nature.

The cruise industry cycle will last for several decades. According to the International Association of cruise lines (CLIA), a record number of passengers, 26 million  will take a cruise in 2016, a growth of 4% compared to the previous year, still above the GDP. According to a report released by ‘Business Research and Economic Advisers’, globally, the cruise industry generates expenses amounting  to 117 billion US$, employs 900,000 worldwide and attributes 38 billion US$ in wages.


What are the main factors that explain the success of the cruise industry ? The sectorial cycle analysis provides the answer. Historical information, economic fluctuation, technological innovation, differentiated labour regulations and the opening of markets all play a rôle.

These factors affect the competitiveness of the industries. High costs of labour or other types of costs, will as an exemple, result in down cycle. Sometimes competitiveness is related to a new product, to productivity gains or a major  innovation. This will cause the rise of the cycle.

In the case of the cruise industry, the cycle is long, i.e. several decades. The analysis shows that there were four major phases since the post-war period. The first relates at the bottom of the cycle by the 1970s. The second phase, that took place between the years 1970-1980, relates to the definition of a new concept. The third, refers to the beginning of  … Lire la suite



This text is also available in PDF format: when the major ports of the world talk (AutoSaved) – copy

This text explains the performance of port sites by the theory of networks. It indicates that the level of integration of a port site to a network can explain financial profitability and performance. This performance comes from the synergy generated by the sum of the parts of the network. We speak then of “economies of network” or “network effect”.

The ports of the world support international trade

International trade is supported by a vast network of transport. If maritime transport represents approximately 80% of international trade, port infrastructure therefore play an essential role.

The maritime routes of this network are linked between the main continental blocks. The dynamics of trade is largely between three major poles called the ‘triad’: which consists of Eastern Asia, of Western Europe and of North America. These three major regions of the world accounted for 52% of global GDP in 2013, but their weight tends to decrease with time since they accounted for 70% of GDP at the turn of the century. The north-South maritime trade tends to develop more and more with countries in South America, in Africa, and in Australia. The concept of the triad could be extended to other global economic centres.

Goods are carried by accessing different groups of ports called “facades” located on each pole of the triad. For example, ports of Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen represent the facade of the coast of China. The Japanese facade gathers ports of Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya. The ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg represent the Mediterranean façade. Valencia and Marseilles, the facade of Europe. The West Coast is represented by the ports of Long Beach in Los Angeles.

A summary assessment of trade shows that it … Lire la suite


This text is also available in PDF format: maritime innovation section – copy


All knowledge of the world, it is the most important, are those who lead us to follow the evolution of our society, to see throughout history where we come from and understand where we are going. Of large industrial and technological innovations, we look at those that have shaped our world and change our ways of doing things.

Innovation as a concept plays an important role in society because it allows the realization of concrete projects by the learned knowledge. It is the vehicle that allows progress, and fundamentally improving our quality of life. Therefore, any development strategy cannot ignore the role that it plays in development and growth[1]. To ignore it would be a mistake.

According to the OECD, innovation is the process whereby new ideas are transformed into commercial success.[2] If according to this definition, the term ‘innovation’ is not synonymous with “R & D” since a large part of search results does never result in commercial success.

Innovation refers to new ways to the integration of technologies or production processes in order to improve the competitive position of a company. Achieving results is therefore imperative in any form of innovation. However, a company would not thus to stick to the original invention or product that it has itself developed. It can simply sell a product elsewhere or implement a business that has already been proven elsewhere in the world, shorten the interests of standby times be it commercial, strategic or technological model.

Why a text on maritime innovation? Because, despite the extraordinary impacts of the maritime on society economy and despite the extraordinary progress which she was the source, there is that its contribution is poorly known. Yet, she … Lire la suite