The ferry connection between Lewisporte and the Labrador towns of Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay will be shut down at the end of the current shipping season. ((Todd O'Brien/CBC) )

The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced Tuesday there is no longer a need to maintain a ferry service between Lewisporte and two Labrador ports past this year.

Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson said with the Trans-Labrador Highway now open, goods can be shipped to Labrador by a "faster and more flexible" road connection.

"The time has come to discontinue the passenger and freight service between Lewisporte, Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay," Hedderson said in a statement.

The decision comes as a blow to Lewisporte, which for generations has been a portal to the Labrador coast. However, the town had lost some of its importance as a shipping hub in recent years, even before the Trans-Labrador Highway was completed.

Hedderson announced other changes to the provincial marine service.

Lewisporte will still be used as a terminal to ship freight from Newfoundland to communities on Labrador's northern coast. Happy Valley-Goose Bay will also be a key port for the northern Labrador freight service.

The MV Robert Bond, which is handling the Lewisporte ferry run, will be redeployed in the winter on the Strait of Belle Isle.