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MTS cancels barge to Inuvik and moves terminal to Tuktoyaktuk

Marine Transportation Services announces big changes to barge schedule because of low water
Marine Transportation Services has made significant changes to the 2024 sailing schedule due to record low water levels. NNSL file photo

There will be no barge to Inuvik or Tuktoyaktuk this year and communities north of Norman Wells are being told to brace for a schedule change.

An update was released by Marine Transportation Services May 9. MTS says extremely low water levels around the Rampart Rapids south of Fort Good Hope which are expected later this summer are to blame.

Instead, all shipments to Fort Good Hope, Akalvik, Kugluktuk, Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk and Ulukhaktuk will be dispatched from the Tuktoyaktuk terminal and will be required to be transported there first.

"To accommodate the reception of cargo in Tuktoyaktuk, the Terminal will open three weeks earlier than usual," says the notice. "Customers will have an additional six weeks to deliver their cargo to MTS. Customers are encouraged to get their cargo to Tuktoyaktuk in advance of the August 1 cut off to have it loaded on the barges to their communities.

"It is important to note that the transportation of jet fuel and diesel, which are transported by tanker from a refinery in the state of Washington along the coast of British Columbia and around Alaska to Tuktoyaktuk, will remain unaffected by this change."

As of today, anyone who was placing an order by barge for Inuvik or Tuktoyaktuk is asked to make other arrangements to move their cargo. Anything currently sitting at the Hay River terminal or currently en route will be transported to Tuktoyaktuk on customer's behalf.

The Tuktoyaktuk terminal will open July 2 and accept cargo until Aug. 1, six weeks longer than usual. MTS is estimating the barge will depart for Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Kitikmeot Aug. 19. The MTS website currently lists a departure date of July 21 and 22 for Fort Good Hope/Kasho Got’ine but has an Aug. 1 final cargo acceptance date. Aklavik's delivery date remains to be announced.

Noting record low water levels are in effect in multiple areas around the NWT, the MTS notice adds the agency is monitoring the situation and potential impacts on Tulita, Norman Wells and Łutselk’e. MTS currently has a departure date of Aug.1 for Great Slave Lake, Aug. 6 for Łutselkʼe, June 19, 22 and 29 for Norman Wells and June 19 and 29 for Tulita.

About the Author: Eric Bowling

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