NANAIMO – Construction is well underway at the Port of Nanaimo site that will be home to the new B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre (BCVPC).
A key component of Phase 1 of the project includes renovating an existing 60,000 square foot building, is expected to be completed January 1 in time for the first shipment carrying approximately 400 new vehicles slated for arrival to begin the detailing process later that month.
“This exciting project is the result of a lot of discussions and hard work that is going to result in economic stimulus for Nanaimo, and a lot of good jobs – at least 50 to start with,” says Port Chair Michelle Corfield. “Projects like this don’t happen overnight, and we are grateful for the persistence and vision demonstrated by our Port team and our new tenants.”
The Terminal will be the initial offloading terminus and preparation area for new European automobiles that will be sent to vehicle dealerships throughout Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, eventually expanding throughout western Canada.
The Port of Nanaimo is partnering with Western Stevedoring and their affiliate organization, the Auto Division of SSA Marine, to design, build, finance and operate the terminal.
The existing pier is being upgraded to allow for berthing of a modern Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC), a specialized cargo vessel used to transport vehicles and equipment. Nanaimo was chosen as it provides direct short-sea connections to the Lower Mainland, and European Automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are experiencing significant capacity constraints and other issues elsewhere.
Port Co-CEO Mike Davidson notes “Phase 1 will see the complete exterior of the building refinished, and 30,000 square feet of the interior retrofit will be a fully functional Vehicle Processing Centre.”
Co-CEO Ian Marr adds that following the arrival of the first vessel in the first week of January, “vehicles will arrive every two weeks for the first year, totaling approximately 10,000 within year one. At this point we are seeing 20-25 people daily working in the warehouse, and another 4-5 on the marine works,” Marr notes. “We anticipate another 10 more starting this week for the civil and electrical works.”
Western Stevedoring/SSA, engineering companies, Canada Border Service Agency and Transport Canada employees are also already working on the site. Port of Nanaimo Vice Chair Donna Hais says discussions began with Western Stevedoring/SSA over 18 months ago.
“Shortly after those initial discussions opened, the federal government announced that the National Trade Corridor Fund Program was receiving proposal requests for projects within the program’s parameters, to which we applied, and were fortunate to receive funding,” Hais adds.
“This project is a $19 million investment overall,” says Corfield. “We are grateful that the federal government has contributed $6.3 million towards it as well, which indicates they are as optimistic about this project and its positive impact on the region as we are at the Port.”