Duke Point a priority for new port chairman

A former Nanaimo city councillor will lead the Nanaimo Port Authority board of directors for the next two years.

Jeet Manhas, who has served as a board director since 2010, was elected as board chairman at a recent meeting, taking over for outgoing chairman Bob Bennie. He said his experience and relationships he made while serving on city council and with the Regional District of Nanaimo will be beneficial in his new role.

Manhas said one of his priorities is expanding the dock at Duke Point. With the provincial government pushing the liquefied natural gas industry, he said Nanaimo is situated in a good location to take advantage of some of the related projects that will be coming in the next few years.

“The major undertaking will be Duke Point; I want to tackle that. The container business is doing really well for us, which [has been] a newer business for the last couple of years, and it’s doing well and we need more dock facilities at Duke Point,” said Manhas

“I have a very good relationship with the provincial government as well, so I want to really work hard to get some funding for that and work with a private partner, port authority, the provincial government and the federal government to make that reality for Duke Point for maybe a second dock,” he said.

The new board chairman would also like to bolster cruise ship traffic in the Harbour City. He said some of the regulations have changed and some of the ships weren’t equipped for those changes and companies took those runs out of Canada and the U.S.

“Now they’re changing their cruise ships so that they can run in Canadian and United States waters, so we’re hoping in the next little while, we’ll have a good announcement for having more visits for our cruise ship terminal,” he said.

Director Richard Ringma was elected as vice-chairman and Manhas is hoping two vacant director positions will be filled by September. The federal government will announce the appointments, according to Manhas.

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