Transporting Goods via Marine Atlantic During Interruption to Road Network

To our valued commercial customers:

A severe storm system impacting the west coast of Newfoundland has resulted in significant infrastructure damage to the road network. This means traffic arriving in Newfoundland via the Port aux Basques port are unable to connect with the rest of the province.

Following a request from the Provincial Government, Marine Atlantic has temporarily resumed the Argentia ferry service. Our goal is to transport the highest possible volume of critical goods and passenger traffic during this challenging period. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity on our Argentia service to transport all traffic and therefore are prioritizing commercial units based upon capacity and loading parameters.

Prioritizing goods going to Newfoundland

Based upon the latest updates from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Emergency Operations Centre, we are planning for current operations until Friday, December 3.

We have completed a round trip for the Argentia/North Sydney service and have determined that based upon dock and vessel space configurations we can accommodate approximately 50 to 60 commercial units per crossing.

With these considerations, we will be prioritizing critical goods for transport. These include: 

  • Fresh fish and meats
  • Perishable produce
  • Medical supplies, including pharmaceuticals
  • Food (dry provisions)
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fuel and Propane (requires dedicated restricted crossing)

Additional products will be transported as space is available. Given that a crossing will take approximately 16 hours, we will be taking guidance from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, who are working with key stakeholders, will identify critical items.

Terminal space & service limitations

Given the volumes of commercial traffic, we do not have sufficient space in our marshalling yards to accept all units. This is creating challenges, especially in Argentia where roadways are becoming congested. At this time, we ask that only critical items be sent to our terminals for transport.

An additional challenge is that due to the emergency nature of our Argentia service, there are no food services available at the terminal. This is further complicated by the fact that our terminal is several kilometres away from food services located in the Town of Placentia. We ask that drivers understand and prepare for their food requirements before arriving at the terminal. There is a modified food services menu for passengers once onboard and throughout the voyage.

Vessel operations

The MV Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders are dedicated to the Argentia service. The MV Leif Ericson will be utilized on the Port aux Basques and Argentia services, primarily for restricted priority goods. The MV Atlantic Vision is currently out of service undergoing regulatory required maintenance and not available to return to service at this time.

Returning to regular service

We understand the temporary capacity restraints on our vessels presents a significant challenge for you and your customers. We are in planning to return to regular service as soon as the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador identifies that the road system is able to accept commercial traffic. We will utilize a combination of direct communication and our website, to provide the latest updates.

Our goal is to move as much traffic as possible during this challenging time. We again ask your cooperation and only send critical items for transport at this time. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this period.

Darrell Gallant
Vice President Operations