European vehicles now rolling through Port of Nanaimo

Island port’s B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre is Canada’s newest automobile import facility

A new Mercedes-Benz rolls off a ship at Port of Nanaimo’s new B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre. The facility offers European automakers new access to Canada’s western market | Submitted

The Port of Nanaimo has welcomed the first shipment of European vehicles at its newly completed B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre (BCVPC).

In partnership with Transport Canada, Western Stevedoring and the auto division of SSA Marine, the port designed, built and financed the $18 million BCVPC, which will serve as Western Canada’s first entry point for European automobiles bound for the North American market.

The first European vehicles to make the all-water journey into Canada via Nanaimo belong to Mercedes-Benz (XE:DAI). Instead of loading European vehicles on a train in Eastern Canada for a cross-country trip to the western provinces, Mercedes-Benz vehicles will now be shipped from Europe to the Port of Brunswick in Georgia before continuing through the Panama Canal and up to Nanaimo, which was chosen as a new auto processing centre because Lower Mainland facilities were at capacity. 

The vehicles will then be distributed to Mercedes-Benz Canada’s network of 59 dealerships, 11 of which are in B.C. The brand is represented by two dealerships on Vancouver Island: Mercedes-Benz Nanaimo and Victoria’s Three Point Motors.

“Mercedes-Benz Canada has a long-standing commitment to the West Coast,” Brian Fulton, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, said in a press release. “This outstanding new facility represents a new era for our operations, allowing our B.C.-bound vehicles to travel an efficient all-water highway to this important market.”

Following the first shipment, new vehicles are expected to arrive every two weeks for the first year of operations, totalling 10,000 within Year 1.

The BCVPC will have access to nearly 27 acres of port land and will create an estimated 60 jobs initially and up to 110 in the long run. BCVPC is projected to boost B.C.’s gross domestic product by $12.2 million in the short term and about $52.7 million over the next five years.

“The B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre provides an opportunity to showcase how the Port of Nanaimo delivers local benefits with its global reach, with direct shipment of vehicles to our facilities,” said Ian Marr, president and CEO of the Port of Nanaimo.•