Montreal Trade Mission Helps New Orleans Businesses Trade Up

Trips to Montreal help expose the benefits of doing business down south in the Big Easy

Last October the World Trade Center of New Orleans (WTCNO) led an important business delegation to Montreal, Canada to convene with key companies that drive the global logistics industry.

“Trade missions of this sort have been and will continue to be a central part of the World Trade Center’s mission, which is to help introduce Louisiana businesses to a global audience, explore best practices, and provide WTC with opportunities to introduce the Louisiana market to foreign markets,” said Harrison Crabtree, director of WTC New Orleans.

“Everyone around the world knows New Orleans and Louisiana, and they love us for our culture, and our food, and our music,” continued Harrison, “but what we want folks to know is that we’re also a great destination to do business in.”

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The delegation brought to Montreal many transportation and logistics-focused companies and organizations from across Southeast Louisiana. Participants on the trade mission had the opportunity to meet with key organizations, including the Port of Montreal, CN, FedNav, and more.

“CN and FedNav in particular are two companies with significant assets in our region. Having the opportunity to meet with them allowed us to learn more about their plans for future growth,” said Harrison. “Successfully developing relationships such as these is a key strategy of the WTCNO, as these relations allow for an open dialogue to build trust, address impediments for growth, and explore avenues for collaboration.

“The World Trade Center of New Orleans’ trade mission to Montreal provided the perfect platform for the Louisiana delegation to gain invaluable insights from Montreal’s transportation and logistics leaders while simultaneously discussing business opportunities in Louisiana and the region with our Canadian counterparts,” said Dawn Lopez, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Associated Terminals and Turn Services. “As a group, we were able to lay the foundation for future partnerships focused on innovation and trade. In addition, this WTCNO trip offered a unique opportunity for the Louisiana representatives to develop closer relationships with our Louisiana-based counterparts and discuss synergies and opportunities for future collaborations.”

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Lopez said these interactions underscored the importance of personal relationships in identifying growth opportunities, both locally, nationally, and internationally.

Harrison added, “These types of trade missions are a signature initiative of the World Trade Center. These trips play a key role in exposing our local partners to a global audience, with the intention of learning new best practices, and forging partnerships that will lay the groundwork for future business development initiatives elsewhere in the world–in this case Montreal.”

Harrison said these trips also serve as a critical tool to highlight economic growth that is happening in Louisiana.

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“In an increasingly digital age, in-person interactions are still critical to building successful partnerships,” he pointed out. “We’re trying to facilitate face-to-face interaction in a world of Zoom meetings. It really helps develop personal one-on-one relationships that are so vital to great business and trade relationships.”

This is the second trade mission initiated under the World Trade Center’s partnership with GNO, Inc, with the first occurring in June of 2023 to Ireland. There in Ireland, WTC New Orleans participated in workshops focusing on healthcare, tech and innovation–while also getting to check out Ireland’s verdant countryside and vibrant culture.

“We did a day in Dublin, a day in Galway, and Limerick,” recalled Harrison. “We had some cultural experiences, great dinners at traditional Irish restaurants where we got to sample and compare Irish seafood–fish, crabs–to our famous Louisiana seafood. We heard an Irish band. We also found similarities to Louisiana in the friendly nature of the Irish people: you walk into a place and everyone wants to be your friend and ask questions about New Orleans.”

All of this socializing helped create bonds between Irish businesses and Louisiana businesses. “Ireland went from one of Europe’s poorest countries to one of the richest,” Harrison pointed out, “So by facilitating an open dialogue between leading companies in Louisiana, and global leaders in places like Ireland, France, and Montreal, we are able to explore avenues of collaboration.”

The WTCNO and trade mission participants can meet with companies who are actively looking for partners and U.S. expansion opportunities. Further, these trade missions afford WTCNO the unique opportunity to highlight economic activity to leading organizations. While many companies may be familiar with Louisiana, these trade missions provide our participants with the opportunities to discuss initiatives in-depth.

Focusing on the transportation and logistics sector, WTCNO met with leading Montreal-based logistics company to lay the foundation for business attraction efforts to Louisiana. GNO/WTC learned more about how Montreal has successfully become a logistics hub and explored avenues of collaboration. “Like south Louisiana, Montreal is a global logistics hub for maritime, rail, road, and air,” said Harrison, “so there was much for us to discuss in those areas. We learned how Montreal transportation and logistics companies are successfully leveraging innovation and technology to support and grow the sector.”

Harrison reiterated that having the opportunity to meet with key executives at the Corporate HQ is important because it helps to establish a personal relationship. These relationships are critical in helping to identify opportunities for growth for these companies in Louisiana.

“For us,” summarized Harrison, “WTC is not just bringing foreign markets here, but bringing our people overseas to build trust that will foster personal relationships in the long run. Not everyone’s aware of all the great things we’re doing in Louisiana!”


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