Andrew Noye, vice-president of sales for Mercedes-Benz Canada, spoke on the benefits of the new B.C. vehicle processing centre for the car manufacturer and its dealers and for Nanaimo. Mercedes-Benz brands, including the company’s line of electric vehicles, will be serviced at the centre. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo’s vehicle processing centre officially opens

B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre will bring two carrier loads of European cars per month to Nanaimo

The Port of Nanaimo and Mercedes-Benz Canada rolled out a red ribbon cutting for the official grand opening of the B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre in Nanaimo on Tuesday.

The occasion was celebrated inside the facility with a display of some of the Mercedes-Benz cars that have been processed at the centre and speeches by representatives from the city, Port of Nanaimo and Western Stevedoring.

The centre, the first of its kind in Western Canada, has been in development for about two years and received its first cars from a roll-on, roll-off car carrier ship for a test run of the facility in early March.

In its initial phase of operation it will provide about 40 jobs and receive shipments from two ships per month. The centre is expected to process up to roughly 10,000 vehicles annually.

“We’re still ramping up, so we won’t have the final figures here until later this year … I see expansion, for sure, happening,” said Andrew Noye, Mercedes-Benz Canada vice-president of sales.

Noye said ships bringing cars to Nanaimo will pick up some of the vehicles from the Mercede-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and also from a new manufacturing facility in Mexico.

“We have another facility coming on line in Mexico. We’re also stopping to pick up cars there and bringing them here as well … we want to make sure that we’re operational and effective first here with what our plans are and then we’ll go from there,” he said.

Other brands under the Mercedes umbrella will also go through Nanaimo to dealerships on the Island and Lower Mainland.

“We have a sub brand we call EQ and it’s our all-electric vehicle and that will start coming to Canada in the spring of next year,” Noye said. “That will also be served here as well.”

Plans are for the processing centre to eventually serve much of Western Canada. Eleven of Mercedes-Benz Canada’s 59 dealerships are located in B.C., including two dealerships on the Island.

The processing centre was developed in partnership with Nanaimo Port Authority and Transport Canada, Western Stevedoring, the auto division of SSA Marine and B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre and is the first and only Western Canadian entry point for European auto manufacturers and allows vehicles to be brought by sea directly to Western Canada instead of being unloading on the east coast and transported by rail across the country.

“The dealerships will store the vehicles on-site here rather than storing them in Greater Vancouver, so that’s another advantage of the facility,” said Dave Lucas, Western Stevedoring senior vice-president.

Storing vehicles in Nanaimo where land and storage costs are less expensive could prompt some Lower Mainland dealerships to utilize space on their properties differently or even eliminate expensive vehicle storage options there.

“We’ll be talking to the Lower Mainland dealerships to see if they have interest in storing vehicles here and then we’ll deliver to that dealership when they’re ready for that vehicle,” Luca said.

Ian Marr, Nanaimo Port Authority president and CEO, said the processing centre will bring sustainable, year-round business to the port.

“This one will be a constant. For the near future it’s going to be two ships a month, moving forward,” Marr said. “We’ll see how the volumes go. It’s all about sales and things like that for [Mercedes-Benz] and we’ll see how that goes, but I think as we get into it there will be more manufacturers coming on board and using Nanaimo as their destination … I think what we’ve done here is establish that this is the first one that says, ‘Look. You can do it,’ and with a name like Mercedes on it, they know it gets done right if they’re doing it and so I think other manufacturers will go, ‘Look. This is viable and does make sense.”



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Solstice will be observed at Nanaimo lakeside retreat

Bethlehem Centre marks longest night of the year Dec. 21

Nanaimo Clippers sniper scores four in blowout win

Josh Bourne leads team to 7-0 victory over Merritt Centennials

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Series of circumstances led to pedestrian being struck by car

The recent incident at Bruce and Albion was not one tragedy, but four, says letter writer

RDN board votes to continue webcasting meetings despite low viewership

Staff to report back to RDN board about live-streamed meetings in time for 2021 budget discussions

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Two-tier health care isn’t right for Canada

We want proper investment in our public system, says letter writer

Nanaimo Clippers sniper scores four in blowout win

Josh Bourne leads team to 7-0 victory over Merritt Centennials

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

Play set on Vancouver Island wins Yellow Point Drama Group contest

Michelle Deines’s The Night Hawks will be produced in fall 2020

Workers at auto dealerships in Nanaimo and Victoria set up picket lines

Sixty GAIN Group detailers, technicians, service advisors went on strike Friday

Nanaimo mechanical engineer writes thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

UPDATED: Transportation Safety Board finishes work at plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Most Read