NWT discontinues sealift service to Cambridge Bay

The NWT’s Marine Transportation Services is discontinuing its sealift service to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, due to “consistently low consumer demand.” 

The NWT government, which runs the service, made the announcement on Wednesday. The territory said the route to Cambridge Bay has seen a drop in cargo volume since 2017 and is losing money.

The GNWT said cargo can still be shipped to Cambridge Bay via Quebec using other companies. 


Marine Transportation Services, commonly known as MTS, has been run by the NWT government since late 2016. It delivers fuel and cargo on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River and the western Arctic coast. 

In 2018, the territory was forced to cancel MTS barge deliveries destined for Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk and Paulatuk. At the time, officials blamed thick ice conditions. They later cited issues with fuel supply for the barges. 

Some supplies were shipped to the three communities by air while cargo items deemed non-urgent, like vehicles, were stored until the 2019 season. 

The territory says MTS will continue regularly scheduled cargo deliveries to Kugluktuk and NWT coastal communities. Charter services for commercial clients will continue for communities outside the NWT, including Cambridge Bay.