Nanaimo Port Authority recently invested $200,000 upgrading the sub-surface infrastructure and re-paving the apron at the Duke Point terminal. Reaction from terminal operators DP World and ILWU labourers has been very positive. Comments from operations at ground level confirm that improvements provide a safer and more productive environment for workers.

Ken Hankey, Brett Hartley and Glen Wagner, veteran longshoremen, all commented very positively on the changes. Mr. Hankey said, “This paving makes life better for all drivers operating the forklift and bomb carts. We can see the drastic change in efficiency and safety. There is less chance to tip lumber or catch a fork. The new lines are more visible and assist with organizing load areas and defining safety zones. Mr. Hartley added, “The deterioration of the pavement over the years interfered with efficiencies for loading. Potholes and puddles slow you down and can affect the quality of the load. The new flat surface is like cement and is actually safer because loads don’t bounce or wobble. Everything is faster, especially for the drivers who are not here regularly or when we run multiple shifts with various drivers under changing conditions like light and weather. Consistency and familiarity relates directly to higher levels of efficiency. The new surface now is very smooth – it’s like an airport runway!” While Mr. Wagner added: “This has made a significant difference to our work and in some cases cut our loading time in half. Now we avoid catching the wheels of forklifts and bouncing the load. Loads with less wobble stay square on the forks throughout the transition, as we load or off load, under the crane and as we transport across the yard. All the moving parts can react with better predictability and efficiency. Another great aspect I’ve noticed is the lack of wear on the driver’s physical state. Over a day of continuous shifts, you can feel the effect of repetitive bouncing, specifically on your back.”

On behalf of DP World, Terminal Manager Pam Fry expressed delight with workers’ reactions to the new pavement. “Employees seem very happy with the new surface and improvements. They see it as a commitment to the Duke Point facility in anticipation of more work on the way. It’s safer and more productive.

Nanaimo Port Authority’s Terminal Manager, Jason Michell looks at the quality of service and potential volume of business. “This improvement, without a doubt, improves safety, handling efficiencies with less costs and risk for the labour force. How can you argue with a safer environment and better production?”