Nanaimo is a port city located on Vancouver Island (BC Canada). Aka "Harbour City", Nanaimo was previously known as "Hub City" attributing to its central location on the island. The city has a total area of approx 91 km2 (35 mi2) and population over 92,000. Nanaimo is approx 40 mi (65 km) from Vancouver BC (across Strait of Georgia), approx 100 mi (160 km) north of Victoria BC (Vancouver Island) and approx 195 mi (315 km) north of Seattle WA (USA).
Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) operates inner Harbour Basin marina which provides mooring for smaller ships. WE Mills Landing and Marina provides mooring for larger vessels. Nanaimo's cruising season runs between early May and early October.
In 2016, port's tonnage volumes increased by 61% over 2015. The number of vessels handling raw logs at Assembly Wharf doubled, and the number of handled containers increased by 21%. The port handles by 25 to 30 cruise ship visits per season, with economic impact on the local economy around USD 150,000.
In 2017, NPA (port authority) applied for federal funding to expand Duke Point terminal. The project is to double the facility's size to handle larger vessels and to expand its paved area to handle more cargo.
In 2016, the port was visited by over 3200 recreational boats (mainly from the USA), so the development plans may include upgrading the yacht marina. In 2017 were handled 6 cruise ship calls (economic impact USD 2,87 million) with nearly 10,400 passengers plus 4,450 crew.
In early-August 2018, the seaport signed a 25-year lease agreement (until 2043) with WCMRC (Western Canada Marine Response Corporation) for corporation's new oil spill response base serving operations on Vancouver Island. By the deal, the port leased nearly 130000 ft2 (12080 m2) land and water areas at Nanaimo Harbour. WCMRC's new base has expected cost around USD 10 million. Here will be homeported 15 response vessels with up to 35 full-time personnel. Founded in 1976, WCMRC (Transport Canada-certified company) protects British Columbia's coastal waters from marine spills.
In 2018, in Port Nanaimo was constructed Vehicle Processing Centre (VPC) - a 60,000 ft2 (5570 m2) covered parking facility for European automobiles. The storage houses the import cars prior to their delivery to BC Canadian dealerships for sale. Towards this project, the Canadian government committed CAD 6,3 million. Around 200 jobs were created during the construction period plus around 100 permanent jobs following the inauguration in April 2019. New car terminal's annual capacity is between 10,000-12,000 units. The first vessel that used VPC was the 2009-built vehicle carrier Tranquil Ace (IMO 9561253) which docked at Port Nanaimo on March 8, 2019, to deliver Mercedes cars.
Local economy's original driver was coal mining, supplanted in the early 1960s by the forestry industry following the MacMillan Bloedel pulp mill construction (1958). Today, the pulp mill injects into the local economy over USD 0,5 million per day.
Here is hosted the annual Nanaimo Marine Festival, part of which is the bathtub race. It starts in Nanaimo harbour downtown, then goes around Entrance Island and continues northwest to Winchelsea Islands to finish back in the harbour. Until the 1990s, the race ran from Nanaimo to Vancouver.
A signature feature of the city is its layout design with all main streets radiating out from the harbor - like spokes of a wagon wheel. A fun fact is that "Nanaimo Bar" (no-bake cookie bar with custard filling) is a Canadian dessert named after the city. The best spot to find the signature dessert is Dinghy Dock Pub. Other tourist attractions include Newcastle Island Marine Park, City Quarter (shopping mall), Harbourfront walkway, Arts district, cannon firing and bagpipe performances daily at the Bastion(the last remaining wooden Hudson’s Bay Company bastion in North America).
Vancouver Island has around 2140 mi (3440 km) long coastline. Island's total population is nearing 800,000.
Cruising season 2019 started on June 16 with the superyacht Silver Muse (Silversea). Nanaimo's average daily passenger spending ashore is ~CAD 80 (USD 60) per person. At the cruise terminal, passengers are greeted by professionally trained ambassadors (from Nanaimo Hospitality Association) who also advise the disembarking tourists on local attractions and touring options. On June 8, Port Nanaimo coordinated the "World Oceans Day" - harbour cleanup program conducted by volunteers along city's waterfront (the coastal area between Maffeo-Sutton Park and Nanaimo Yacht Club). Throughout the day were also organized educational activities, kids-themed entertainment, cultural presentations.
Nanaimo BC cruise terminal
Port Nanaimo has 2 terminal facilities - at Assembly Wharf (close to downtown) and at Duke Point (serving cargo shipping operations). The port provides free of charge golf carts for transportation of passengers with disabilities between the berthed ship and the cruise terminal. Disemabrking passengers are assisted by tourism counselors, providing information on morning / afternoon scheduled activities. Free of charge Wi-Fi is provided for the crew. Also complimentary is port's bus shuttle service for cruise ship passengers - from the terminal through downtown, Old City Quarter and Maffeo-Sutton Park.
In 2011 was inaugurated an USD 24 million cruise terminal at Assembly Wharf. The facility provides Canada Border Services Agency clearance. Port Nanaimo's cruise ship terminal is named "Welcome Centre". The facility was opened on May 6, 2011. Among the larger ship operators often booking the port are Princess, NCL Norwegian, Celebrity, RCI Royal Caribbean.
The cruise terminal has 1 berth and can accommodate some of the world's largest passenger vessels, among which were Celebrity Solstice (in 2014) and Explorer of the Sea (in 2016). Near the cruise pier is located Nanaimo Heliport (operated by Helijet helicopter landing pad).
The cruise port provides golf cart shuttles and complete handicap accessibility. From the terminal depart tour buses to Central Vancouver Island and also City Shuttles (free of charge). The shuttle service is throughout the day and includes 4 stops along the route to downtown Nanaimo, Old Town and Maffeo-Sutton Park (overlooking theharbour).
Nanaimo is directly linked with Vancouver via BC Ferries, served by dedicated terminals in Departure Bay and Duke Point. Smaller ferries offer regularly scheduled service to and from several smaller islands. The city's airport YCD provides regularly (delete) daily flights to the USA and (delete as incorrect) mainland locations including Vancouver YVR and Calgary YYC. The world’s largest sea plane airline offers daily flights to the mainland and YVR.
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