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Marine Transportation Services wraps up ‘challenging season’

Marine Transportation Services has shut down for the season.
A Marine Transportation Services (MTS) barge sits off the coast of Paulatuk at the end of the 2022 season after delays forced the barge to winter in the community. MTS has had another challenging year with two evacuations in Hay River, its base of operations, and extremely low water. NNSL file photo

Marine Transportation Services has shut down for the season.

An announcement was made on Oct. 11 shortly after 3:30 p.m.

“This was MTS’s seventh sailing season since the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) purchased marine assets from a previous operator in 2016 and formed MTS as a division under the Department of Infrastructure,” stated a news release. “Extremely low water levels on the Mackenzie River and two evacuations of Hay River – where MTS’s main terminal is located – made for a challenging season.

“The low water levels resulted in MTS having to adjust its 2023 sailing schedule and transportation plans in July and cancel its third and final resupply trip to Norman Wells and Tulita. Priority grocery items will be flown into Norman Wells and Tulita.”

Customers in Norman Wells and Tulita have three options for their cargo: pick it up at the Hay River terminal and receive a full refund, leave their cargo at the Hay River terminal and have it trucked to them by MTS on the winter road or leave their cargo at the Hay River terminal for delivery by barge in 2024.

Over the season, which began June 27, a total of 22.7 million litres of fuel and 3,442 tons of cargo were delivered to 11 communities.

“Marine Transportation Services staff work hard to ensure that residents and businesses who rely on its services for freight and fuel get these supplies in a cost-effective manner and without delay,” said Infrastructure Minister Diane Archie. “It has been a challenging season and I thank the affected communities and customers for their patience. MTS continues to improve its capacity to operate a reliable and professional marine shipping service in a challenging Arctic environment, and staff remain committed to providing the best possible service to all our customers.”

MTS maintains its head office, main terminal and shipyard in Hay River, but also has terminals in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

About the Author: Eric Bowling

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