The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)

Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

An agreement has been signed that will enable expansion of short-sea shipping operations out of Nanaimo’s Duke Point over the long term.

A 50-year terminal lease agreement was signed Wednesday, Feb. 24, between the Port of Nanaimo and DP World, according to a port authority press release.

The port says the agreement will provide a long-term port-to-port solution for short-sea shipping between Nanaimo and Vancouver, as well as expand direct access from Nanaimo to global import-export markets via direct calls to Asia.

The agreement is “an important first step” in planned terminal expansion, the release notes. The project is currently estimated at $105 million, funded through a mix of public and private investment that includes a $46.2-million federal contribution through the national trade corridors fund and $15 million from the province as a part of B.C.’s economic recovery plan.

Maksim Mihic, DP World Canada general manager, said in a video announcement that a modern container facility will make Vancouver Island more competitive and bring it closer to North American and international markets.

“By introducing marine container services on Vancouver Island we are actually bringing the vessels and using the short-sea shipping to connect those containers directly to the vessel and eliminating the truck leg,” Mihic said. “At peak volume we estimate we will move north of 200,000 containers on the Vancouver Island Duke Point facility and, at the current rate, every container is about 1.8 trips … so that alone will take about 300,000 trips off the road.”

Donna Hais, Port of Nanaimo chairwoman, said in a video announcement that short-sea shipping is critical to the economy.

“It allows us to take a large shipment and split it into smaller shipments, put it on barges and into separate containers and send it directly to the port it affects,” she said.

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The project includes an extension of the existing berth from 182 metres to 325m and construction of a new truck gate, warehouse and administration and maintenance building. The existing diesel quay crane will be replaced with two 16 container-wide electric quay cranes. The terminal’s container yard storage area will be expanded to create an operational capacity of 280,000 shipping containers.

Upgrades to drainage, sewer, electrical, water and security systems are also in the project plans.

READ ALSO: Federal government commits $46 million to expand Port of Nanaimo’s Duke Point operations

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said in the video announcement that the expansion of Duke Point shipping operations will lead to jobs and prosperity and other benefits.

“It enables us to be the central port for Vancouver Island that we believe Nanaimo to be,” he said, pointing out that more than half the Island’s population lives north of the Malahat. “This is just part of a long-term integration of transportation and goods delivery that’s really important and will help benefit our economy for decades.”

Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, said in a press release that the B.C. government is investing in infrastructure projects that have the potential to help people in the short-term and beyond the pandemic.

“Investing in the Nanaimo port … will improve western trade corridors and help local businesses get goods to market,” she said.

DP World is also involved in terminal operations in Vancouver, Surrey, Prince Rupert, and Saint John, N.B.

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READ ALSO: Infrastructure, internet, industrial land key to Nanaimo’s economic development strategy


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