Two brand new barges destined for the Mackenzie River are set to arrive in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. Saturday, as part of a British Columbia company's attempt to make inroads into the territory’s transport business.

Island Tug and Barge has been shipping to the Western Arctic since 2005, but this is the first time the company will be shipping on the Mackenzie River.

"We thought that we could elevate the standard of service," said Niels Gram with Island Tug and Barge.

"We could bring the standard that we employ on the west coast, and bring an elevated level of service to the Northwest Territories."

The barges are double-hulled — a first for the Mackenzie River, according to Gram. He says that makes them safer. Gram says about 50 million litres of fuel is transported every year on the river. Right now, just one company does that work — the long-time northern transport company, NTCL.

Gram said Island Tug and Barge plans to send its first shipment down the river next month.