Deepsea port will be ready for summer sealift, minister says

Says staff shortage delayed management plan

Iqaluit’s deepsea port, seen here along with a fuel tanker, will be ready by the 2023 sealift season, says Economic Development and Transportation Minister David Akeeagok. A lack of a management plan has delayed the opening of the port. (Photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut)

By David Lochead

A management plan for Iqaluit’s deepsea port will be ready ahead of this summer’s sealift, says David Akeeagok, Nunavut’s minister of economic development and transportation.

Akeeagok spoke about the management plan Wednesday after Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes asked for an update on the project.

The deepsea port was initially expected to be ready last fall, but the lack of a management plan delayed the projected opening to this year.

The nearly $85-million federally funded deepsea port allows ships to dock during all tide conditions. Without the port, ships have to wait for high tide to get close enough to unload their cargo.

The deepsea port has had some use already. Two fuel tankers — Woodward’s MT Kitikmeot W and MT Qikiqtaaluk W — docked in December.

The management plan will detail the hiring and training of staff, as well as equipment and safety procedures. It is part of a larger operations plan that includes docking fees and operating expenses.

Akeeagok blames the delay on lack of staffing.

“We don’t have a warm body to do the work,” he told Nunatsiaq News, adding the GN has hired a consulting firm to finish the management plan.

Hickes noted during this week’s exchange in the legislature that preparation for the summer sealift season has started and people need to know fixed costs to carry out their deliveries.

Akeeagok said he could not say what those costs will be yet.

He told Nunatsiaq News that meeting with sealift contractors is in the scope of the consultant’s work and he does not know if those meetings have happened yet.

Regardless, Akeeagok said he’s confident the work will be done on time.

“One way or another,” Akeeagok said, “The sealift will come and that port will be used.”

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by John K on


    There is still enough time between now and sealift season for a complete roll-over of all the staff involved.

    Let’s not count our chickens before they all leave for someplace better.

  2. Posted by Dulcinea on

    “Without the port, ships have to wait for high tide to get close enough to unload their cargo.”

    Are you sure you’ve seen sealift happening in Iqaluit?

  3. Posted by OMG! on

    OMG we have to celebrate! It’s just a few years late and god knows how much extra money it cost as the GN is not releasing this information but hey! It might be ready by summer!

    Just curious the management that are responsible for this debacle have they been disciplined? Or was it a look the other way and brush it under the rug kinda thing?

    • Posted by Succotash on

      Who said anything about cost overruns?

      And as the photo shows, the port is ready.

      As for the delays, from what I hear it was the contractor and to a lesser extent the pandemic.

    • Posted by Jim on

      Are you kidding! Disciplined! No, this is the GN now, he got promoted!

  4. Posted by Seriously Inept on

    How many years has it been since the start of the port project? At least four, and in all that time EDT couldn’t get the management plan done in advance?!? Come on, that’s beyond incompetent, it’s a blatant disregard for assigned responsibilities to not hire someone (employee or consultant) to get the ops plan ready before construction was done. Once again the public suffers because the GN can’t get a simple set of work done on time.

    • Posted by Succotash on

      Please explain who has suffered and how. We can wait.

    • Posted by I could be wrong, but… on

      If I recall correctly, work started in the summer of 2017? Meaning that this upcoming summer will make it 6 years? Is that correct?

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