The trial run at the new Vehicle Processing Centre at the Port of Nanaimo was a success.

Ian Marr, Chief Executive Officer said the vehicle carrier Tranquil Ace, from Germany, docked at the Port and delivered a couple hundred Mercedes Benz cars.

“They are driven off individually by longshore labour, then they go into a lot and get processed and then put on various different vehicles and moved around to wherever they happen to be going.”

It’s been almost a year since the Port of Nanaimo announced the partnership between Western Stevedoring and the Auto Division of SSA Marine to set up a 60,000 square foot facility near the waterfront to do final detailing on European automobiles prior to their delivery to B.C. dealerships for sale.

It’s expected the activity at the facility will be ramping up in early April with a full shipment of vehicles and employ around 100 people to do the work involved.

There will be a grand opening celebration of of the vehicle processing centre in early April.

The vehicle processing centre test run wasn’t the only big news at the Port of Nanaimo recently.

There was a two-day salvage operation that resulted in the raising of the Samantha J tugboat that sank in the channel between Gabriola Island and Duke Point in October of 2014 while towing a wood chip barge.

Marr said the tug was deemed to be an operational hazard and it meant the anchorage couldn’t be used.

“We did finally get it moved and get it out of there. We are able to use that anchorage again. It was unusable during that period which was something like four years.”

Marr said the supervised anchorage can take larger ships and the space was badly needed.

While the Port of Nanaimo is rejoicing at having another anchorage in the inventory, the people on Gabriola, or at Duke Point may not be so happy.

The Islands Trust has been working for years to draw attention to concerns with the use of the Gulf Islands for anchorages.

Problems cited include noise and light from the ships along with concerns about the anchor dragging along the bottom of the ocean.