ST. JOHN’S, NL – By next summer residents of northern Labrador will hopefully no longer have to ship their vehicles as freight to get them to other ports in the area.
The provincial government has issued a request for proposals to provide roll on, roll off ferry services for the north coast of Labrador.
Once in place, residents will be able to drive on and off the ferry instead of having to load their vehicles aboard the MV Astron and travel as a passenger on the MV Northern Ranger or fly to their destination as they must do now.
“The ferry service is the lifeline for the communities of northern Labrador,” Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker said in a release today, May 25.
“This RFP, combined with our investments in the Trans-Labrador Highway, will have significant social and economic impacts for residents and businesses and improve the transportation of goods and services to and from all communities in Labrador.”
According to the release, government is looking for a ferry that can carry at least 20 passenger-vehicles, and as many as 140 passengers, and increase the number of freight units it can transport from 110 to 125.
The vessel, which has to be younger than 15 years old when the service begins and must also be 1A ice-class, will have to be able to travel from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Rigolet, Makkovik, Postville, Hopedale, Natuashish, and Nain and back within a seven-day span.
The contract will be 15 years with an option for extension.
The current ferry service for northern Labrador transports approximately 6,000 passengers and 11,000 tonnes of freight annually.
“Having the ability for passengers, vehicles and freight to travel together from the port in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to communities along the north coast will not only benefit residents, but opens up opportunities for tourist operators and other businesses,” said Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper.
The deadline to submit proposals is July 11, 2018.
The contract is expected to be awarded this September with service to begin in June of next year.