Deepsea port will be ready for summer sealift, minister says
Says staff shortage delayed management plan
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.”