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New MTS barges on route from China to Tuktoyaktuk


Four new double-hull barges the Northwest Territories government ordered from China are expected to arrive in Tuktoyaktuk in the next coming weeks.

Greg Hanna, a spokesperson with the territorial government, says the barges will add to the two that Marine Transportation Services (MTS) already has.

“The barges will improve operational efficiency, reduce logistical challenges, and reduce operating costs, which will benefit NWT communities that are reliant on seasonal marine resupply programs, while also better protecting NWT waterways and oceans.”

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Hanna said the new barges will be used to carry petroleum products and deck cargo.

The barges were built in a shipyard in Nanjing, China. They are being transported across the Pacific Ocean on the heavy lift ship Hua Yang Long.

The NWT Department of Infrastructure said in a tweet Friday that there will be a “robust Covid mitigation plan in place for the arrival’ of the barges. That includes a 14-day self-isolation period for the crew members travelling from China and MTS staff in the NWT. The government said there will be no interaction between the crew and NWT residents when the barges arrive and are unloaded 30 to 60 km offshore from Tuktoyaktuk.

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Hanna said a open and competitive process ran from December, 2018 to February, 2019 to determine the company that built the barge – Nanjing Jinling Shipyard Co. Ltd., now called China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing) Co., Ltd.

“No NWT businesses participated in the competitive process, nor did any businesses propose to have the barges be built in North America,” Hanna said.

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