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Open for Business: Port of Nanaimo offers Mercedes-Benz Canada new access to Canada’s western market

Apr 09, 2019


  • The Port of Nanaimo and BCVPC’s Vehicle Processing Centre is the first and only Western Canadian entry point for European automobiles. It was developed in partnership with Transport Canada, Western Stevedoring, the Auto Division of SSA Marine, and BCVPC
  • The Port of Nanaimo is Mercedes-Benz Canada’s second point of access to the Canadian market and the first on the West Coast
  • New point of entry underscores Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to Canada’s West Coast

NANAIMO, BC – Mercedes-Benz Canada has welcomed its first official delivery of vehicles through the newly opened Vehicle Processing Centre (VPC) in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The Port of Nanaimo and BCVPC Vehicle Processing Centre is the first and only Western Canadian entry point for European automobiles. This new all water approach for European - and potentially additional - importers, establishes new cost-effective and environmentally responsible supply chain options for the West Coast of Canada.

“Mercedes-Benz Canada has a longstanding commitment to the West Coast. 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,” said Brian D. Fulton, President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. “This second point of access to the Canadian market is an example of our constant focus on innovation, which extends beyond our vehicles to all aspects of our business. I’m proud to be representing the first European automotive manufacturer to partner with Western Stevedoring and BCVPC to use the Port of Nanaimo facilities to deliver our vehicles to the B.C. market.”

Mercedes-Benz Canada’s dealer network comprises 59 dealerships, of which eleven are located in British Columbia. The brand is represented by two dealerships on Vancouver Island: Mercedes-Benz Nanaimo and Three-Point Motors – Victoria. The newly established facility allows for a new shipping route to supply Mercedes-Benz Canada’s B.C. dealerships. Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, SUVs, and vans will travel from the EU to the Port of Brunswick in Georgia, USA, where Sprinter vans will be collected from the company’s U.S. factory, before continuing on through the Panama Canal and up North America’s western coast to Nanaimo.

Developed in partnership with Transport Canada, Western Stevedoring, the Auto Division of SSA Marine, and BCVPC, the Vehicle Processing Centre is the first and only Western Canadian entry point for European auto manufacturers. The VPC will process all Mercedes-Benz vehicles bound for dealerships across British Columbia.

The economic impact to Nanaimo and Vancouver Island region is significant: approximately 40 local companies were employed over the course of constructing the Vehicle Processing Centre in 2018/2019. In the short-term, the GDP Economic Development boost is projected at $12.2 million, while long-term projections estimate approximately $52.7 million.

Ian Marr, President and CEO for the Port of Nanaimo, comments: “The BC 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. This investment, made with key partners, utilized approximately 40 companies and over 50,000 person hours to prepare the processing centre for operation and has diversified our local economy, providing new jobs and important employment benefits. We look forward to attracting more business to Nanaimo and Vancouver Island as a result of this collaborative venture.”

Acting Chair of the Port of Nanaimo Donna Hais states: “The commitment of the Government of Canada, SSA, and Western Stevedoring plus the Port of Nanaimo created approximately 200 jobs during construction of the BC Vehicle Processing Centre. On March 8th the first shipment from Mercedes-Benz was received in Nanaimo and allowed safety protocols to be tested with great success. We are now anticipating on-going shipments and full production for the Processing Centre – a goal that we have been working towards as a team for over a year and for the benefit of greater Nanaimo and the Vancouver Island Region. Once fully operational, the Vehicle Processing Centre will be able to handle between up to 25,000 vehicles per year in phase one creating 40 to 60 direct full-time equivalent jobs, then expanding as early as 2024 creating 80 to 100 direct full-time jobs.”

Western Stevedoring President, Brad Eshelman, states, “We are extremely pleased to launch the new auto handling operations in Nanaimo and we are very grateful to Mercedes-Benz for their commitment to bringing this vision to reality, and helping us establish this unique and efficient logistics route. We are very thankful for the commitment of our funding partners, Transport Canada and the Port of Nanaimo, and the cooperation of all involved in the construction of this facility. Western Stevedoring is proud of our heritage as a company that was founded on Vancouver Island in 1948, and we are very pleased to be expanding our presence in the region, providing well-paying jobs and significant economic impact to the Island.”

About Mercedes-Benz Canada

Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing, and service of Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG passenger vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Vans, and smart. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. employs approximately 1,200 people in 14 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of seven Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 52 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 49,758 vehicles in 2018. This positioned Mercedes-Benz as the top luxury manufacturer in Canada for the fifth consecutive year.

Further information from Mercedes-Benz Canada is available at

About Port of Nanaimo

For over 150 years, the Port of Nanaimo has facilitated economic development within Nanaimo, Vancouver Island and Canada. Housing diverse entities including cruise ship facilities, deep sea anchorage and cargo as well as a public boat basin, business at the Port contributes $1.24 Billion annually to the Nanaimo economic picture (2014). Additional support is provided through community donations; to date, the Port has donated over $3.5 million to various groups and projects, and continues to work with regional partners to support community development. As a Western Canadian port for international good including forest products, steel, petroleum, project cargo, containers and now vehicles, the Port continues to contribute to the economy in a meaningful and growing way.

More information about the Port of Nanaimo can be found at

About Western Stevedoring & SSA Marine

Western Stevedoring is British Columbia’s largest, most diversified, stevedoring and terminal operating company. Western loads and unloads more than 12 million metric tons of cargo at ports and terminals throughout B.C. Western specializes in break bulk cargoes such as steel and forest products and offers cruise ship services at Ogden Point in the Port of Victoria. Western provides stevedoring services at the new auto handling facility at Nanaimo Assembly Wharf with subsidiary company BCVPC operating the Vehicle Processing Centre.

Western is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle, Washington based Carrix/SSA Marine, the largest privately held terminal operating company in the western hemisphere.

For more information, please visit


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Contact Information

For more information about Mercedes-Benz, please contact:

For more information about Port of Nanaimo, please contact:

For more information about Western Stevedoring & SSA Marine, please contact:

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