Watching huge oceangoing vessels as they sail alongside much smaller boats is an amazing sight.
Each year, about 5,000 commercial vessels of all types sail along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Throughout the year, heavy commercial vessels sail up the river to Montreal.
Pointe-aux-Pins park in Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel offers a scenic view of the massive ships as they sail along the St. Lawrence.
On the left bank of the Richelieu, going toward the St. Lawrence, a ship is moored at wharf 19 in Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel. This wharf, which is part of the Port of Sorel-Tracy, is property of the Sorel-Tracy Maritime Terminal, which mainly ships and receives steel products. On the right bank of the Richelieu, in Sorel-Tracy, one can see grain elevators owned by James Richardson International. This company handles more than 25 varieties of grains and has a storage capacity of 146,000 tonnes. Ships dock at two nearby wharves to load and unload cereals.
Tugboats help these large ships dock and undock, and also escort ships along the river. In the winter, they serve as icebreakers, opening passages for other ships. They also provide aid to ships in distress.
Two ferries provide year-round service between Sorel-Tracy and Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola: the "NM Lucien L." and the "NM Catherine-Legardeur." Lucien Lachapelle was a businessman from Sorel who ran the ferry service before it was taken on by the Société des traversiers du Québec. Catherine Legardeur was the wife of Pierre de Saurel, who became the first seigneur of Sorel in 1672 and was captain of the Carignan-Salières regiment. In November 2012, the ferry "NM Félix-Antoine-Savard" (named after the renowned author of the novel "Menaud, maître draveur," published in English as "Master of the River") temporarily took over from the "NM Lucien-L." while it underwent maintenance.