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Island Tug and Barge launches
British Columbia company sets up shop in Old Town

Sarah Ladik
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A new company has launched into the Mackenzie River marine shipping business.

NNSL photo/graphic

Scott Hopkins, the manager of Arctic operations with Island Tug and Barge Ltd., says the company is keen to get freight and fuel moving on the Mackenzie River. - Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo

Island Tug and Barge Ltd. (ITB) of British Columbia held its official opening in Hay River on Sept. 10. The company has been operating on the West Coast out of Vancouver for years, and broke into the Arctic market in 2005.

ITB has commissioned four new double-hulled barges for its new Mackenzie River operations to be launched from Hay River. While the Mackenzie is one of the few exceptions to a rule - to be implemented by 2015 - that requires all barges to have double hulls, the company believes that, not only is it possible to use such vessels on the historic waterway, but doing so will raise the bar for other companies, as well.

"We believe this will be the standard now. We are going to raise it," said Capt. Terry Camsell, manager of Arctic development for Island Tug and Barge. "The Mackenzie is a dangerous river and it's a prime place to use double-hulls."

Niels Gram, Island Tug and Barge's vice-president of business development, said the main benefit to the North is that the company can help contribute to a competitive market.

"That's not something we've really seen here in the past," he said.

Representatives from both the municipal and territorial governments were on hand to welcome Island Tug and Barge to the shore of the Hay River, as were drummers from K'atlodeeche First Nation.

"We have a proud and long history of marine transportation in Hay River and to see Island Tug and Barge coming to the North and investing in it is exciting," said Hay River South MLA Jane Groenewegen.

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