The Nanaimo Port Authority had an exceptional year in 2011 with positive growth in handled commodities and exports through its deep-sea terminals, as well as the completion of a new $25-million cruise berth and welcoming centre.

The port saw a significant increase in cargo movement – particularly export products. Lumber volumes increased 200% over 2010 – the highest they have been since 2008 while export log volumes showed an increase of 87%. 167 deep-sea ships called at the port, compared with 100 in 2010. Total export units were 220,919 (175.2 million tonnes) compared with 94,736 units (58.4 million tonnes) in 2010.

Bernie Dumas, president and CEO, Nanaimo Port Authority, said that the port was very happy with the results. “The increase in lumber shipments is a solid indication that the Vancouver Island lumber industry has stabilized and is growing with the new export demands from the Far East,” he said. “During the year we saw significant growth in lumber, log and salt handling, and to a lesser extent, an increase in the amount of kaolin which moved through the Port.

“We are encouraged by the growth in what we consider to be some of our mainstay exports. The port is continuing to work on several projects, which could come to fruition in 2012 and would have a major impact on the transportation services available on the Island as well as impacting economic growth and distribution services.”

Mr. Dumas is encouraged by the opportunities he sees in the Mid-Island region and said that the port is working on a 2025 strategic business plan.

The new cruise facility, which received partnership funding from the provincial and federal governments, was completed in eight months and was viewed as one of the more successful federal government infrastructure funding projects.  The facility sets the stage for continual growth in the Nanaimo’s cruise sector.