Port explores Harbour City’s LNG potential

NANAIMO – Duke Point has capacity to allow Nanaimo to cash in on fledgling industry.

With the B.C. government pushing the liquefied natural gas industry, Nanaimo may be able to take advantage of related opportunities that come.

New Nanaimo Port Authority chairman Jeet Manhas said one of his priorities is to expand the dock at Duke Point. He said it is set up for industrial use but has never really taken off and given where Nanaimo is situated, it can take advantage of some related projects.

Nanaimo is in close proximity to Southeast Asia and seeing as Vancouver and Prince Rupert are overloaded, Manhas said the Harbour City is a logical extension.

“Mainly right now, we’re just talking about equipment [cranes] coming over,” Manhas said. “Pieces of equipment for setting up plants in Kitimat or wherever they happen to be. Right now it’s basically not liquefied natural gas moving out, it’s just equipment and machinery and things like that coming over.”

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan said utilizing Duke Point for such opportunities would be a good move for the port authority to make.

“I know that the potential of Duke Point really hasn’t been realized yet and so I’m so pleased that the port is looking at expanding that because really those communities, and certainly Nanaimo is foremost in my mind, those communities that aren’t active in trying to attract whatever opportunities the LNG projects will bring might miss the boat,” Ruttan said.

The mayor said the industry is developing and it isn’t really known what opportunities may become available. There are still approval levels at play but he said it would be prudent to examine anything from which the city could benefit.

“The reality is we’re trying to look at all opportunities and it’s important for us to really follow what the province is suggesting,” Ruttan said. “The [provincial government] is looking forward to LNG as a huge economic generator for the whole province and I think really it would be prudent for us to look at what spinoff opportunities we ourselves could enjoy from it.”