The Marine Transportation Services (MTS) sailing schedule and transportation plans for the 2023 sailing season are being adjusted due to very low water levels on the Mackenzie River.
Low water levels, particularly near the ramparts south of Fort Good Hope, could make certain sections of the Mackenzie River impassable for MTS tugs and barges sailing out of its main terminal in Hay River.
To alleviate this risk while providing essential resupply services to northern communities, cargo acceptance dates and estimated departure dates have been revised for some communities. A hybrid transportation model will be used to move fuel and cargo to Fort Good Hope, Aklavik, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Kugluktuk.
Highlights of the adjusted sailing schedule and transportation plans are as follows:
- Cargo acceptance dates for Łutselk’e, Tulita, and Norman Wells will remain the same. The estimated departure dates for Tulita and Norman Wells also remain the same. The first resupply trip to Łutselk’e sailed out of the Hay River terminal on July 19. The estimated departure date for the second resupply trip to the community will now be July 28, not July 30.
- All cargo for Inuvik, Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Kugluktuk will be trucked to Inuvik and then barged from Inuvik to the five other communities.
- Fuel is being delivered by tanker to Tuktoyaktuk and then barged to Inuvik, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok, as was done during the 2022 sailing season. It may be necessary to truck in and then barge or locally source a small amount of gasoline for Ulukhaktok, Sachs Harbour and Paulatuk.
- Last week, customers who had booked cargo in Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk were advised that cargo acceptance dates were adjusted from July 31 to July 20 due to the change in transportation method. Estimated departure dates for Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok and Kugluktuk will also be adjusted due to the changes. The updated departure dates will be posted online when they are finalized.
- Cargo for Fort Good Hope will be trucked to Inuvik and then barged south to the community. Fuel for Fort Good Hope will be barged south from Tuktoyaktuk. This fuel will be added to the tanker delivery already planned.
The updated 2023 sailing schedule can be found here.
Operated by the Government of the Northwest Territories since 2017, MTS provides essential marine resupply services to residents, businesses, and industry on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River corridor, and in the Western Arctic.
“One of MTS’s priorities is to do all it can so residents and businesses that rely on its services for essential freight and fuel get these supplies in a cost-effective manner and without delay. I recognize these adjustments to the sailing schedule and mode of transportation may impact and inconvenience some MTS customers, but they are necessary to reduce risk, complete essential resupply activities and have a successful 2023 sailing season.”
- Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure
- Water levels at the ramparts section of the Mackenzie River south of Fort Good Hope are currently 2.7 metres. At two metres, the ramparts become impassable for MTS shallow draft vessels.
- MTS is using three tugs to transport essential freight and fuel to 11 communities during the 2023 sailing season.
- Marine Transportation Services 2023 sailing schedule and final cargo acceptance dates
- Marine Transportation Services cargo rates
For media requests, please contact:
Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Infrastructure
Government of the Northwest Territories