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The Lighthouse: Shedding Light on the Port Ecosystem of Tomorrow

By April 20, 2024April 22nd, 2024No Comments

Dossier — Collaboration

The Lighthouse: Shedding Light on the Port Ecosystem of Tomorrow

Since the redefinition of its strategic plan and Vision 2035, the Port of Québec positions itself as a pioneer in the port ecosystem of tomorrow with the official launch of the Innovation Lab ‘Lighthouse’.

With great enthusiasm, Pierre-Luc and Michael explained to me the genesis and mission of this promising initiative a few days before the official launch of the Innovation Lab on February 13th, at the Espace Quatre Cents in the Old Port of Quebec.

Pierre-Luc Gosselin has been anchored at the Port of Quebec for over 12 years now, initially in data analysis, leveraging his background as an economist, and later as Director of Business Intelligence. Now, he is one of the key figures in the Lighthouse Innovation Lab project, while continuing his current role in business intelligence.

By his side, Michael Perreault, also an economist, contributes to the promotion and realization of this innovation project at the Port of Quebec, aiming to offer its infrastructure, opportunities, expertise, and network of contacts to the entrepreneurial community. A role he particularly enjoys as it allows him to step outside the traditional maritime framework, connect with a community of dynamic entrepreneurs, and contribute positively to modern environmental challenges.

Their presence at various events within the startup and blue economy ecosystem is already making an impact.

Pierre-Luc Gosselin | Director, Business Intelligence (left), Michael Perreault | Business Intelligence Analyst (right) @ Nancy Guignard

Among the key pillars of the Port of Quebec’s strategic plan are community engagement, environmental stewardship, and, of course, innovation.

“Shaping together the port ecosystem of tomorrow through innovation and entrepreneurship, while respecting community and environment.”

Here is the mission of the Innovation Lab Lighthouse.

The first step was to survey the industry and establish our position. What can the Port of Quebec Authority add to the innovation ecosystem?

By immersing themselves in innovation environments and meeting various stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators, government officials, and academic circles, they realized that there were already several support structures in place.

By building relationships and partnerships with players such as 2 Degrés and Novarium, the Lighthouse can focus on being an innovation catalyst rather than establishing a corporate framework and shining in the industry by making the Port of Quebec known for more than just its cargo handling activities.

“As pioneers in clean technology in Quebec, 2 Degrés has been a founding partner, playing a key role in the strategic thinking of the project, notably by personally contributing to the construction and definition of the project’s vision. We continue to support the Port of Quebec and the entire team behind the Lighthouse by sitting on the advisory committee, and we are proud to see this first milestone officially announced.”
– Alexandre Guindon, Executive Director at 2 Degrés

Alexandre Guindon | Executive Director at 2 Degrés @ Nancy Guignard

“At the heart of Quebec’s ecosystem of innovation and research in clean maritime technologies, Novarium plays a crucial role in bringing the Lighthouse to fruition. Over the past year, we have strengthened our international network of partners and we are thrilled to contribute this expertise as a building block of this innovative project in Quebec. We must continue to work collectively to have an inclusive vision of innovation involving all stakeholders of the St. Lawrence and beyond.”
– Amélie Desrochers, Executive Vice President at Novarium


The Lighthouse thus makes available the facilities and infrastructure of the Port of Quebec, as well as the opportunities and challenges, to serve as a technological showcase that, hopefully, will be able to bring forth solutions and improve the ESG criteria of both the Port and the City of Quebec.

A sea of opportunities

The positioning of the Port of Quebec, at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage gem, makes the innovation lab a unique playground for testing new technologies to address both industrial and urban challenges.

As an integral part of the logistics chain, the Lighthouse has access to the entire ecosystem: ports, coast guard, ferries, shipowners, cruise lines, and so on. As a Canadian Port Authority, the status of the Port of Quebec assigns it regulatory power over a wide range of activities and logistics within its territory. An interesting leverage to implement and structure special projects, conduct research, and innovate.

Pierre-Luc compares the Port of Quebec to a city within the city: ‘We manage electricity networks, bridges, roads, water supply networks, industrial terminals, administrative buildings, cruise terminals, parks and public spaces, a pool, a beach, bike paths, public docks, a marina… By making our infrastructure and network available, we can attract startups and technologies from virtually any field.’

Their uniqueness also lies in the fact that they do not operate solely as a private enterprise because the profits, through the Canada Shipping Actis reinvested in infrastructure and the community. Not having shareholders to satisfy every quarter and their sound financial management allow them to champion nobler causes and take more risks with the aim of creating positive impacts on environmental and social criteria.

The majority of the Port’s departments are involved in day-to-day operations, where with a 5-minute notice, their day can be completely disrupted by an on-site emergency. By separating innovation from the Port of Quebec’s daily operations and channeling different projects and change agents, we become more agile and aligned with the fast pace of technological startups.

It’s entirely logical for the innovation lab to be at the heart of the business development department. The Lighthouse is an internal toolkit for the organization to further its outreach, maintain business relationships, network different ecosystems (researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs, citizens, partners…), and structure entrepreneurial and academic initiatives.


Working together for the common good

One of the primary objectives of Innovation Lab ‘Lighthouse’ is to reduce the noise pollution from the Port of Quebec, which creates inconveniences for the city’s residents.

With the numerous efforts and notable improvements of recent years, the situation has evolved, but it is not sufficient. The expectations of communities and standards are evolving rapidly.

That’s why the Lighthouse has implemented a collaborative project involving academic circles, startups and citizens by assembling a multidisciplinary team dedicated to solving the problem.

Once again, the agility of the lab increases the speed of execution and, hopefully, the success rate of the project.


An unforgettable swimming experience in the St. Lawrence River

The Port of Quebec is full of ideas and projects to revitalize this urban area, promote social interactions, and improve access to the St. Lawrence River.

The Oasis, the first public port bath in North America, opened in the summer of 2022, in the Louise Basin, revitalizing the area and offering free access to citizens and visitors to a free swimming area, Olympic-sized swimming lanes, relaxation spaces, and unique facilities to cool off during the summer period.


This year, we dive into our Nordic identity The Solstice sauna company establishes itself in the Louise Basin by developing a floating sauna, offering a unique experience promoting contemplation, relaxation, but above all socialization among participants, all year round.

The project, conceived by APPAREIL Architecture, seamlessly integrates into the urban landscape and aims to democratize the wellness industry by making opportunities for self-care more accessible and offering the opportunity to do so in complete communion with the surrounding nature.


Initiatives that, once again, demonstrate the potential for implementing innovative projects and increase the technological needs of the Port of Quebec.

About the Author

Nancy Guignard

Freelance writer and photographer, Nancy Guignard employs her sensitivity to narrate stories through words and images. The connection with nature is crucial for her creativity.