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Orchestrating Port Comings and Goings as Harbour Master


Orchestrating Port Comings and Goings as Harbour Master

As Harbour Master at the Montreal Port Authority, Jean-François has the important responsibility of ensuring the operations, management and administration of maritime transport so that everything is executed with perfection.

Discover his daily life and inspiring story.

I’m barely awake and I’m already looking at the weather forecast. There will be a few gusts, but I’m not too worried, the team has seen worse. I take the time to have a cup of coffee, rapidly go through my emails and confirm the meeting schedule for the day. I look one last time at my phone before leaving to make sure there’s no emergency, and I hit the road.

With the current situation, I work from home every other week. So it’s good to come back to the office and atmosphere of the port once in a while.

It’s still early, but the city is slowly waking up. After all, it’s only 7:00 a.m. I use the private road to the port to avoid the traffic that’s starting to build up, and take this opportunity to check that there’s nothing out-of-the-ordinary with the moored ships.

As soon as I get to the office, I realize that the wind has picked up and that it will make the operations a little bit more complicated. I barely had time to brew a second cup of coffee that I’m told that a cargo ship is entering the port.

I stop by the control centre to make sure everything is in order and get on my way to the first meeting of the day.

To be Harbour Master you have to: always be on the lookout for details, make sure that activities are coordinated and everything runs smoothly.

When I think about it, it’s like conducting an orchestra. I have to make sure that everyone has mastered their instrument and knows what to do. Fortunately, I have a great team and, most of the time, I only have to intervene in case of problems or when unusual situations arise.

From reviewing daily operations to planning larger projects, files and meetings that keep coming, the day goes by quickly. I barely had time to say hi to the Port Security Director when I have to go to another meeting!

Being a Harbour Master comes with a lot of responsibility, but I enjoy the autonomy I get, the people I meet and above all the feeling of satisfaction you get at the end of the day.

Already 4:30 p.m., I have to check one last time my inbox and see if I have any important reminders to send. I like making sure that all of the day’s emergencies have been taken care of before I leave the office.

Back at home, I get to relax and rest. I even have time to take my dog for a walk. It’s important to keep a certain balance because I know that tomorrow, another big day awaits and the team is counting on me!

Controlling the Movements of a Cargo Ship as a Helmswoman

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Controlling the Movements of a Cargo Ship as a Helmswoman

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Controlling the Movements of a Cargo Ship as a Helmswoman