Iqaluit’s deepsea port sees 1st sealift come to dock

‘It was important for us to give it a shot,’ says Brian Tattuinee, business development manager at Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc.

Part of the MV Zelada Desgagnés’s crew joins Brian Tattuinee, business development manager at Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc., at left, to celebrate the first successful sealift docking at Iqaluit’s deepsea port this week. (Photo courtesy of Brian Tattuinee)

By Jorge Antunes

At Iqaluit’s new deepsea port is an expanse of several hundred metres of fenced-in space, stocked with machinery, shipping containers and building materials for homes.

A crane on the MV Zelada Desgagnés drops cargo to be picked up by front-end loaders Wednesday at Iqaluit’s new deepsea port. (Photo by Jorge Antunes)

“This is one of the best improvements,” said Brian Tattuinee, business development manager at Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc.

He spoke to Nunatsiaq News at the port Wednesday as front-end loaders busily rushed between the dock and the vessel MV Zelada Desgagnés, which was being loaded by the ship’s onboard cranes.

From there, they had plenty of room to lay down the cargo for trucks to pick up and take into the city.

The Zelada Desgagnés was the first sealift ship to dock and unload directly at Iqaluit’s $84.9-million deepsea port, which officially opened July 25. Two cranes worked in tandem, in a rhythm, to unload the ship.

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Tattuinee said favourable tide conditions were ideal for a trial run when the Zelada Desgagnés arrived Aug. 13.

“It was important for us to give it a shot,” said Tattuinee.

“I was taking pictures for the operations team and the captain’s been taking notes, we’re making notes on how we can best serve Iqaluit.”

The process is a far cry from the way sealift deliveries used to be handled.

In the past, barges picked up cargo from a ship anchored in the inlet. The barges would then drop the cargo onto an uneven beach, which was completely open to the public.

The process would take about seven days.

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The long-awaited deepsea port promised to make that unloading process quicker, safer and more secure.

However, sealifts didn’t immediately start docking at the port after it opened.

The ships remained anchored in the inlet, where they were unloaded using an all-tide ramp and barges because extreme tides can lower a docked ship to the point where it’s impossible to safely operate the onboard cranes.

While the ramp-and-barge unloading process didn’t look much different from the public’s perspective, the new ramp reduced unloading time to about two-and-a-half days.

Unloading directly to the dock using onboard cranes is even faster, said Tattuinee.

It was hard to measure how much faster exactly, he said, because the Zelada Desgagnés carries 30 to 40 per cent more cargo than previous sealifts that have used the port.

“It’s the same amount of time for more cargo,” Tattuinee said.

“We’re skipping a whole step by being alongside [the dock.] It makes things a whole lot quicker.”

Tattuinee said it’s too early to tell whether unloading at the dock will be the way going forward.

Discussions are ongoing, he said, but “initial thoughts are that it’s been going quite well.”

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by DudeTown on

    So there we go. Any of the commenters still angry? You guys were so upset about this earlier this month.

    • Posted by Misinformation or disinformation? on

      People can only react to or assess the information they are given.

    • Posted by SARCASM on

      I was upset earlier this month , not any more , cause the ship is OFF LOADING right at the DOCK !!!

    • Posted by John K on

      “Are you guys still mad now that the thing that made you mad isn’t happening?”

      Lol, no, obviously not. Vindicated actually.

      Did you think you were dunking on people?

  2. Posted by Qiatchu on

    It’s 2023 and after almost $100,000,000 spent, Nunavut’s capital still doesn’t have a year round port or any plan to lower the cost of living.

    Glad Brian is all giddy though.

    • Posted by also on

      A year-round port? Why would it need to be year-round. How would that even work?

    • Posted by RU Cereal on

      Who said anything about a year-round port? I don’t imagine that would go over well with local hunters. Just look at Pond Inlet and Baffinland’s attempts to do year-round shipping.

      And that $100 million was only $85 million, and it built a bunch of things besides the dock.

    • Posted by Ginger Ale on

      You do realize that the ice in the bay gets really thick during the winter time. Ice breakers wouldn’t even be able to break the ice mid winter for year round shipping. How would that work? Ships dock at the floe edge and offload from there?

    • Posted by Inuapik on

      Today I learnt that in the arctic $100 million dollars will get you a year round port

  3. Posted by Tom Shelby on

    So it unloaded a ship, so what, is it going to unload all ships and make it faster from now on? I think not

    “Tattuinee said it’s too early to tell whether unloading at the dock will be the way going forward.”


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