Vehicle carrier Tranquil Ace loomed large on Nanaimo’s waterfront Friday when it tied up at Nanaimo Assembly Wharf to deliver the first batch of Mercedes-Benz vehicles to the Port of Nanaimo’s B.C. vehicle processing centre.
The delivery was part of an test drive for the centre’s unloading facilities, which will be a port of entry for Mercedes-Benz vehicles bound for dealerships on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.
Mercedes-Benz Canada said the cars unloaded on Friday was only a partial shipment and didn’t disclose the number of vehicles unloaded or whether they would remain at the processing centre.
“It was not a full shipment today,” said Sinead Brown, Mercedes-Benz Canada communications and public relations supervisor. “They’re just testing some of the logistics of the new vehicle processing centre.”
Brown said the first official shipment of Mercedes-Benz vehicles will happen in the first week of April and more information about the operation would be made available then.
The vehicle processing centre was developed partnership with Transport Canada and Western Stevedoring, the auto division of SSA Marine. It is the first and only western Canadian entry point for European autos, according to a Nanaimo Port Authority press release.
“As the first auto carrier enters the Port of Nanaimo, we recognize that this is an historic event for our community. However, this is considered a pilot-run, in order for us to test our protocols and streamline our processes, as well as maintain the highest levels of safety for workers and the public,” the release noted.
The centre will eventually able to process about 10,000 to 12,000 vehicles annually and could expand to handle 40,000 vehicles a year by as early as 2024.