For the first time in the province’s history, residents of northern Labrador communities are able to drive their vehicles onto their north coast ferry and continue their travels at their destination.
Labrador Marine Inc.’s MV Kamutik W, the ferry formerly known as MV Hiiumaa, arrived in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Sunday evening and will begin transporting passengers, vehicles and freight to the north coast today.
The fully-accessible, seven-year-old roll on, roll off vessel will travel weekly to Rigolet, Makkovik, Postville, Hopedale, Natuashish, and Nain and replaces the 48-year-old MV Astron and the 33-year-old MV Northern Ranger. It will also travel once every two weeks to Cartwright and Black Tickle during the summer and once per month during the fall.
Rates have also been lowered approximately 60 per cent for passengers and approximately 40 per cent for freight.
The vessel can transport 250 passengers, up to 200 vehicles, a maximum of nine tractor-trailers, and 125 units of freight.
In addition, the vessel can dock and unload bow or stern first, has ramps more compatible with docks on the north coast, is 1A ice class certified, is capable of operating to standard in heavy sea ice conditions, and has a full service cafeteria and modern washrooms.
During the winter months, the vessel will also provide relief service on the Strait of Belle Isle run when the MV Qajaq W is out of service for inspections and regular maintenance.
The 15-year contract with Labrador Marine, valued at $14.6 million per year, is being delivered in working partnership with Nunatsiavut Marine Inc.
“We appreciate the patience of residents who have been waiting for the vessel to arrive. This vessel marks the beginning of an enhanced ferry service for the north coast. People who use this ferry will now have a roll-on, roll-off service that transports more passengers, vehicles and freight weekly rather than once every two weeks. This will make a significant difference in the lives of residents in coastal Labrador and for businesses in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.”
Honourable Steve Crocker
Minister of Transportation and Works
“Today marks a new era for transportation in Labrador. This transformative change is designed to leverage recent investments in the Trans-Labrador Highway that have improved the delivery of goods and services to central Labrador. Now it is time for the people of coastal Labrador to enjoy these benefits. On behalf of Lake Melville I look forward to supporting this launch.”
Honourable Perry Trimper
MHA for Lake Melville