VICTORIA -- The Port of Nanaimo has finished penning its lease agreement with international shipping company DP World to expand the city's Duke Point terminal and pave the way for global shipping.

The 50-year lease agreement, finalized Wednesday, will see the Duke Point terminal berth extended from 182 metres to 325 metres and will fund the creation of new facilities and equipment.

New administrative, maintenance and warehouse buildings will be constructed and the current diesel quay crane will be replaced by two electric cranes that can accommodate up to 16 shipping containers.

The terminal's container yard will also be expanded, creating space for a total of 280,000 standard shipping containers. Amenities like drainage, water, sewer, electrical and security systems are also slated for upgrades.

The entire project will improve short-sea shipping opportunities between Nanaimo and Vancouver and will reduce congestion at Vancouver ports. The project also lays the foundation for international importing and exporting directly to Asia through DP World.

"The Duke Point Expansion Project will bring Vancouver Island to world markets and put the Island on an even playing field with the rest of Canada in terms of trade," said DP World CEO and general manager Maksim Mihic in a release Wednesday.

"In addition to the significant creation of local jobs, it will also highlight Vancouver Island’s advantage in industrial land availability and affordability in comparison to the Lower Mainland."

The terminal expansion is estimated to cost $105 million. The federal government has earmarked $46.2 million for the project and the B.C. government has promised $15 million. The rest of the funding comes from a mix of private and public contributions.

Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief Michael Wyse says the port expansion will benefit everyone in the region.

"Improving economic and social prosperity for this region is of great importance for our children and grandchildren to live together harmoniously and with a head start to shared prosperity," he said in a statement Wednesday.

"I am proud that the Nanaimo Port Authority and Snuneymuxw were able to come to a new foundation that can generate benefits for everyone, including Snuneymuxw First Nation, and through this new relationship framework I am focused to conclude an impact benefit agreement in real time," he said.