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

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Nanaimo’s vehicle processing centre officially opens

Just Posted

Nanaimo city council voted unanimously Monday to pass a bylaw establishing the foundation for a new downtown business improvement association. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo adopts bylaw to create new downtown business improvement association

Chamber of commerce says next steps will be a board of directors and five-year strategic plan

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district teachers’ union, and its counterparts from Mount Arrowsmith district, seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union asks health authority for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: RCMP say Wakesiah Avenue fire was arson, suspect has been arrested

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Most Read