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NEAS ceases Arctic sealift calls at Valleyfield

By Leo Ryan, Editor

 Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping (NEAS) has decided to cease its regular calls at the Port of Valleyfield on the St. Lawrence Waterway, ending a relationship of some 20 years, confirmed Jean-Philippe Paquin, General Manager of the port located 70 km southwest of Montreal. Valleyfield has been a key staging ground in eastern Canada for the annual June-October Arctic sealift operations of NEAS and its fleet of five vessels.

Mr. Paquin also confirmed that the port was in negotiation with another maritime carrier to help fill the void left by the departure of NEAS (accounting for about one third of total traffic). While this carrier could not be identified until negotiations were completed, Mr. Paquin told Maritime Magazine that the cargo volumes by the new carrier would be similar to the NEAS contribution. “There would be no drop in overall volume for the port.”

The decision by NEAS reportedly resulted from a breakdown in negotiations to renew a contract between NEAS and the terminal operator, Valport Maritime Services. “NEAS had finished its seasonal activity in October and had to renew a contract which had expired,” Mr. Paquin said. Comment from Valport was not immediately available.

There is also an unconfirmed report that NEAS may be switching its business to the Port of Bécancour on the St. Lawrence River – which is already used extensively by Desgagnés Transarctik for its substantial Arctic sealift operations.

Contacted by Maritime Magazine on the new developments, a spokesperson for NEAS said “we have no comments to make at this time.” (photo Port of Valleyfield)