Labrador roll-on, roll-off still the plan

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Department of Transportation and Works reviewing proposals

The provincial government continues work required to fulfill promises for an improved ferry service for the Labrador coast by 2016.

The Astron

After the difficulties with the existing freight service this spring — with the provincial government covering costs on Air Labrador’s scheduled freight delivery today and a separate freight charter flight being arranged — The Telegram sought an update on previously stated plans for the future.

As announced in December 2012, the plan remains to bring in a single contractor, with new ferry boats, to move people and goods.

“A minimum of two vessels will provide passenger, vehicle and freight service for the north coast of Labrador and passenger and vehicle services for the Labrador Straits. Vessels will be ice-class, have roll-on, roll-off capability and must be built in 2010 or later,” notes an email from a department spokesman, in reference to a call for proposals already issued by the province.

The call was to close on April 30 of this year, but the deadline was extended “at the request of industry.” It closed June 16.

In all, three submissions were made by would-be ferry service operators, and staff within the department are reviewing them.

“The department hopes to be in a position to make an announcement in the fall,” according to the same department rep.

The extension granted on the government’s initial request for proposals will not push back the planned start date for the new service, The Telegram was told.

The new service is still expected in 2016.

Meanwhile, the MV Astron is scheduled to leave Lewisporte for Labrador on Saturday, with a load of cargo. In addition to grocery retailers, the lack of cargo movement is reported to be affecting construction work in the region.

For more on this: “Labrador north coast residents left waiting for supplies.”

Organizations: Department of Transportation and Works

Geographic location: Labrador, Lewisporte

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