Originally built in 1968 to address the shipping needs of what was then the Noranda Smelter (Glencore), the Port of Belledune has grown and evolved from the single terminal facility it was then to a four terminal port. It still provides the gateway through which concentrates move across the globe from its original terminal, but having expanded three times, first in 1995, again in 1998 and again in 2010, the Port of Belledune has assumed a greater role in the economy of the surrounding regions. It has, in striving to fulfil its mission, become one of the cornerstones of the local economy and provides direct and indirect employment for many local residents.
The expansions – the second in particular – are significant factors in the historic development of the port. Prior to the addition of Terminal III, which handles general cargo and bulk, port activities were limited mostly to concentrates, ore, and coal. The addition of a third terminal sparked a number of changes in port operations and the overall organizational structure of the port.
The M.D. Young Terminal (Terminal III) boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment. It was designed to handle a broad array of general cargo including bulk commodities, vehicles, resource products, consumables, consumer merchandise, and specialized cargo. The addition of this general cargo terminal essentially opened the door for business diversification at the port.
Shortly after Terminal III went into operation, another change significantly impacted the port. In 2000, the Belledune Port Authority (BPA) was formed to take over all operations at the Port of Belledune. Until that time, the port had been run by a federal department in Ottawa and as a result decisions for port activities were made in Ottawa. The creation of a Canadian Port Authority lead by a local Board of Directors and management team has had a dramatic impact on port operations. Decisions can be made locally and can be made quickly based on the merit of an opportunity.
The port authority immediately realized that due to its ultra-modern facilities and strategic location for accessing large North American markets, it had significant advantages to offer potential clients. This, together with being able to offer some of the shortest shipping routes between Europe and North America make the Port of Belledune very attractive to shippers.
The third expansion in 2010 allowed the infrastructure at the Port of Belledune to evolve once more. A Roll on-Roll off and Barge Terminal was built in order to attract a diverse range of cargo to further diversify and increase business at the port.
The port has steadily expanded the scope of its services and has handled general cargo of all shapes and sizes, high & heavy project cargoes, break bulk, forest products, paper products, consumables, and bulk cargoes. It deals with shipping companies and clients from across the world and has steadily broadened its client-base resulting in more diversified clientele and greater volumes. The team at the port continually strives for flexibility in addressing the unique needs of its clients.