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Sealift season heats up
Nunavut carriers secure contracts and post cargo delivery schedules for 2012 season

Thandiwe Vela
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 4, 2012

Cargo delivery schedules for the 2012 sealift season have been struck, and as the carriers wait for the ice to clear, they are looking forward to a busy cargo delivery season in Nunavut.

NNSL photo/graphic

Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc. will be delivering cargo in every Nunavut community this sealift season, including 25 communities under an agreement with the Government of Nunavut. - photo courtesy of Desgagnes Transarctik Inc.

Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc. (NSSI), Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc. (NEAS), and Northern Transportation Company Ltd. (NTCL) have confirmed cargo delivery stops across the territory starting in July, and have secured a number of private and Government of Nunavut contracts.

"From all accounts it's looking like a very promising season," said Scott Dryden, manager of sales and chartering for NTCL. "There's a lot of renewed interest in the North, and there's a lot of existing important community customers we have."

In addition to Mackenzie River destinations, NTCL will be sailing throughout the Kitikmeot region in August, with a combination of GN and private cargo. The Hay River-based company does not have scheduled sailings planned for the Kivalliq region this year, but is hoping to reestablish that next year, Dryden said.

Nunavut Sealink will be delivering cargo in every Nunavut community this season, including 25 communities under a new long-term dry cargo resupply agreement with the GN.

"This extremely successful NSSI bid confirms our company’s undeniable status of leading sealift carrier in Nunavut," stated Daniel Desgagnes, NSSI's managing director, in a recent news release announcing the agreement.

Nunavut Sealink is still in the process of getting all of this year's reservations and space booking information, and Desgagnes is hoping the 2012 season, which will include five company cargo vessels running in the Arctic, will be as busy as last year.

"We hope to have another successful season like we did the previous year," Desgagnes told News/North, adding the company shipped more than 200,000 cubic metres of cargo across Nunavut last year.

Shipping on the mining side may be slower this year, he noted, with some major projects being postponed, and the shutdown of Newmont Mining Corp.'s Hope Bay project, which Nunavut Sealink supplied with a carrier contract.

The company will continue to service Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd.'s Meadowbank gold mine, and has "lots" of cargo for the communities this season, the stores and infrastructure projects, Desgagnes said.

While Nunavut Sealink did not secure a GN contract for Iqaluit, it is still very active in the capital on the private side, he added.

Quebec-based Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, which was awarded the GN sealift contract for Iqaluit this year, released its preliminary sailing schedule for the 2012 season last week. The five-ship schedule is subject to weather and ice conditions.

Nunavut destinations for Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping's 2012 season include Arviat, Cape Dorset, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Iqaluit, Kimmirut, Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet, Sanikiluaq, and Whale Dorset.

The company has not yet named a director of Nunavut operations, following the unexpected death of executive David Ell in March, who was also deputy mayor of Iqaluit.

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