People in Nanaimo will see this 60,000-square-foot warehouse and other facilities at Nanaimo assembly wharf upgraded over the coming months as the site is transformed into a vehicle processing facility that will prepare European-made vehicles for operation in Canada before they are shipped to B.C. dealerships. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

New European import vehicle-processing facility planned for Nanaimo assembly wharf

Cars destined for B.C. dealerships to be imported, processed and delivered through Nanaimo

Widening the Panama Canal has broadened industry and job opportunities for Nanaimo with a new automobile import and processing facility that will start operations at the Nanaimo Port Authority’s Assembly Wharf in January.

Nanaimo Port Authority, Western Stevedoring and its affiliate organization, the automotive division of U.S.-based SSA Marine, announced a joint venture Tuesday that will redevelop the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf into a multipurpose terminal that will be home to to an import vehicle processing facility where cars brought to Canada from Europe will have work done to meet Canadian standards.

“The existing warehouse that people see in the centre of Nanaimo Assembly Wharf, that’s approximately 60,000 square feet, that is actually going to become the vehicle processing centre,” said Ewan Moir, Nanaimo Port Authority president and CEO. “That is the facility where the vehicles go in and they are taken from being the standard-manufactured European vehicle and – I wouldn’t say they’re converted – they’re morphed to become a Canadian vehicle. The French-English stickers go on, the [GPS] software is update with all the maps particular to North America, any of the activities that are required in an automobile to make them Canadian happen within the vehicle processing centre.”

Having a centre in Nanaimo relieves distribution problems European manufacturers are have experienced by only being able to land vehicles destined for markets across Canada at Halifax, N.S., which means vehicles have to be transported by truck or train to Canadian destinations. The multiple loading and unloading stages can create time-consuming and expensive logistical bottlenecks in the delivery process. Also, vehicle dealers had complained about the cost of land on the Lower Mainland to store inventory.

Marine shipping cars destined for the Island, Lower Mainland and Western Canadian dealerships directly from Europe to Nanaimo became possible when the Panama Canal was widened, allowing large vehicle transport ships to pass through it on their routes to West Coast ports.

Moir said the first phase of the project will use about seven hectares of assembly wharf land and start out processing about 10,000 to 12,000 vehicles annually. The second phase of the project will double the size of the facility, which could grow to process up to about 40,000 vehicles annually as early as 2024.

“The cars will be processed here in Nanaimo, then the dealerships will have the cars that they’re looking for for their customers delivered back from Nanaimo to the Lower Mainland,” Moir said.

The delivery process will increase the short sea shipping business for Nanaimo and the processing facility itself will provide about 40 to 60 new jobs in the short term and up to 110 new jobs in the coming years, according to estimates presented in a press release.

Moir said the industry is a good fit for Nanaimo, especially because of its proximity to downtown.

“This is something that is not noisy. It’s not a noisy process in the vehicle processing centre and it actually operates more like a 9-5 business … and then you take the indirect employment that supports that industry,” he said.

Once the processing facility is established there is also potential to attract supporting industries and businesses.

“There’s a number of other areas, which we haven’t turned the page on yet, but we know that this is going to give us some directions for some other businesses that will potentially look very favourably at Nanaimo and the mid Island,” Moir said.

To learn more, follow this link.



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

Just Posted

Conservation officers hope the public can provide information about who shot and left a bull and cow Roosevelt elk near Spruston Road, south of Nanaimo. (Photo: Facebook)
Pair of Roosevelt elk shot and left in woods south of Nanaimo

Conservation officers hope public can help find who killed the animals near Spruston Road

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for mischief and assault. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo man wanted for throwing merchandise at convenience store clerk

Police in Nanaimo hope public can help find Ovidiu Bezdan, wanted for assault and mischief

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Mariah Charleson, Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council vice-president, left, was among those voicing support for Mi’kmaq lobster harvesters in Nova Scotia that are seeing their catch dumped and taken and property damaged. A solidarity rally was held at Maffeo Sutton Park on Oct. 22. (Karl Yu/Nanaimo News Bulletin)
Solidarity rally in Nanaimo sees support for Mi’kmaq lobster fishers

Indigenous people and supporters gather at Maffeo Sutton Park Thursday

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read