This service has been discontinued
October 26, 2010
Minister Announces Changes to Labrador Marine Service
With the opening of Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway (TLH), the transportation needs of Labrador have changed dramatically. With a highway now connecting Southern Labrador, through Lake Melville to Labrador West, the passenger, vehicle and freight service currently offered by the MV Sir Robert Bond between Lewisporte, Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay will be discontinued at the end of the current shipping season (November 2010).
"Now that there is a highway link connecting the communities currently served by this run, the time has come to discontinue the passenger and freight service between Lewisporte, Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay," said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works. "This is a natural step in light of the approximately $275 million investment in Phases II and III of the TLH and is consistent with the delivery and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and services in other communities that are accessible by road."
In addition to the construction cost of Phases II and III of the TLH, the annual maintenance cost of these sections of highway will be in excess of $5 million. The movement of people and goods is also faster and more flexible via the road connection.
Lewisporte will remain the primary terminal port on the island for the shipment of freight to the North Coast of Labrador while Happy Valley-Goose Bay will remain the primary Labrador port for the North Coast freight service. This configuration will remain in effect for at least the next several years while the Department of Transportation and Works monitors changes in trade patterns and the movement of goods as a result of the new highway.
Cartwright will no longer be a scheduled port of call for the North Coast freight service, currently provided by the MV Astron. There will be no change to the current configuration of the passenger and freight service provided by the MV Northern Ranger.
"As is evidenced by our commitment to the continuing enhancement of the highway network in Labrador and our decision to provide year-round ferry service across the Strait of Belle Isle, our government is working to enhance Labrador's transportation network for the long-term benefit of all," said the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs. "As this province's transportation needs continue to evolve, we will continue to look to the future to ensure that we have the necessary plans and infrastructure in place to meet those needs."
As announced in Budget 2010: The Right Investments - For Our Children and Our Future, the Provincial Government is investing approximately $1.4 million to continue the pilot project to provide year-round ferry service, connecting Labrador and the island, across the Strait of Belle Isle.
The MV Sir Robert Bond will be retained to provide winter ferry service across the Strait of Belle Isle and to supplement the North Coast freight service as needed. This winter, service via the MV Sir Robert Bond will be provided between Corner Brook and Blanc Sablon while the MV Apollo is on refit.
"We have already seen a shift in the transportation patterns in Labrador as a result of the opening of Phase III of the TLH," said Minister Hedderson. "While there will no doubt be a period of transition as travellers and shippers adjust to the new configuration, the new highway will increase convenience, speed and capacity for the movement of people and goods to and from Labrador."
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