What happens when Port facilities in Metro Vancouver and their associated auto processing centres are filled to capacity with automobiles? You ship European cars to Nanaimo and then barge them across to the Lower Mainland.
European cars are normally shipped to Halifax and then trucked or railed across the country. With the growing cost and scarcity of industrial land, Nanaimo is transforming into the European car depot for vehicles shipped by sea through the newly widened Panama Canal.
The president and chief executive of the Nanaimo Port Authority stated “The project has the potential to transform Canada’s import automobile supply chain.” There’s no thought of a shift to ride share autonomous vehicles in this supply model.
As Business in Vancouver reports from Carla Wilson instead of sending European cars across the Canadian continent ships will navigate directly through the Panama canal to Nanaimo. This expanded facility in Nanaimo will cost eighteen million dollars to implement and will “tackle existing transportation bottlenecks and congestion”.
This includes the repurposing of a 60,000 square foot building on 16 acres of land to be run by Western Stevedoring. There is an “assembly wharf” a paved facility of 36 acres where the cars will be prepped for shipping.
At the Nanaimo Port, cars designed to European standards get bilingual stickers and are upgraded for the Canadian market. Starting in January 2019 large carrier ships will offload 400 to 500 vehicles per vessel at the Nanaimo port.
It should also be noted that Port Metro Vancouver is one of the few in North American to not run 24 hours a day, a potential solution for real and perceived congestion and bottlenecks.
By using the Panama Canal, ships will also be able to “short ship” by delivering European vehicles to Mexico, pick up mechanical parts, and then continue to Los Angeles and Nanaimo.
Twelve thousand vehicles are expected to land in Nanaimo in 2019, with a target of 50,000 expected annually. At that point most of the vehicles will then be barged onto the mainland.
The logistics for that transshipment have not yet been announced.