People living in communities on the north coast of Labrador are upset about the sudden increase in the cost of shipping freight on the Northern Ranger.

Nunatsiavut First Minister Darryl Shiwak says the shipping charge for goods has gone up exponentially since last year.

"We're seeing some really outrageous jumps in prices from last year to this year, even upscale of 200 per cent," Shiwak said.

"We knew there was a 10 per cent increase coming on last year’s rate, and I think that's something that residents in the communities could put up with, but the jump in prices has really alarmed us."

Shiwak said the residents are already having difficulty dealing with the big jump in the cost of sending all kinds of goods.

"Boats, to trucks, to trailers, to grocery items to even smaller items that are shipped from Goose Bay or from Lewisporte into the communities, or from community to community, and we are seeing a large, very large, discrepancy from this year to last year, and it is already having an immediate impact on a lot of people," he said.

Correcting an error

Peter Adams, the president of CAI Nunatsiavut Marine, said the large increase in the rates reflects the company correcting an error in calculating freight costs.

Adams said the company calculates the cost based either on size or weight, as set by the provincial government, and charges the lesser of the two rates.

However, according to Adams, there are also two different ways to calculate the weight-based cost, and the company should have been calculating the two and selecting the greater charge.

"It is a little complicated, that's for sure, but basically what happened in the past is our customers have been under charged for transporting their weights and this year, they are being charged accurately," Adams said.

He said that the review of policy may not have been communicated properly to the customers.

"We do understand that this has caused some confusion with people," Adams said.

"It is also possible that we make mistakes from time to time, so if there are any customers that do feel that there may have been a mistake in the way that their freight has been calculated, we invite them to contact our customer service line."