Duke Point Terminal Expansion project

post Panamax cargo ship
post Panamax cargo ship

Duke Point Terminal Expansion Phase One is complete. There were $9.3 million in improvements made at the Duke Point Terminal which included upgrades of the new barge berth and a deep-sea berth, as well as a $4 million shore crane.

The Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) contributed $4.65 million for Phase One with the other half coming from the federal government through a short-sea shipping fund from the $1.4 billion Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

A used 2008 Liebherr LHM 500S 104-tonne capacity shore crane (see video below) was purchased last summer from Brazil to replace a 40-tonne Canadian-made Canron container crane, which the NPA had acquired for $1 in the 1980s.

New Barge Berth at Duke Point Terminal Nanaimo
New Barge Berth at Duke Point Terminal Nanaimo

This Liebherr shore crane can service post-Panamax ships of any cargo type. (Post-Panamax ships are too large to pass through the locks at the Panama Canal). So far the shipments out of Duke Point are dimensional lumber, wood pulp, and bottled water.

Duke Point Terminal Expansion Phase Two

Phase Two expansion planned for the Duke Point terminal will require a $50 – $70 million investment. For this the NPA will have to borrow $20 million. The NPA has its sights set on 2020 for the start of Phase Two with a focus on more inbound cargo.

The project would add a second berth, 600 feet long, and other improvements that would enable the 13.5-metre-deep terminal to handle ships with capacities of up to 4,500 TEUs.

Duke Point Terminal Cargo handling

In 2014 the cargo handled at Duke Point totalled 4.85 million tonnes.  In 2015, 241 ships visited the harbour, one fewer than in 2014. NPA handled 24,405 TEUs in 2014.

Among Canadian container ports, Nanaimo was ranked sixth, behind Vancouver, Montreal, Prince Rupert, Halifax, and Saint John. In 2014, Nanaimo was ranked 48th among North America container ports in TEU volumes, according to figures from the American Association of Port Authorities.

At present the terminal occupies about 20 of the 75 acres the NPA owns at Duke Point. The rest of the land is leased out and contains brownfield areas where the terminal could expand.