This summer's ice in Frobisher Bay caused headaches for sealift companies trying to unload cargo in Iqaluit and for some, it pointed to the need for a deep water port in the city.

The massive chunks of ice made it impossible for small barges to get to the anchored ships.


A sealift ship is anchored amid ice in Frobisher Bay off Iqaluit earlier this month. The ice delayed unloading of cargo from the ships. (CBC)

Nunavut officials say a port would mean easier and faster unloading of cargo.

"Right now cargo ships have to unload at only high tides, four hours maximum, and then they have to wait till the next high tide. In 24 hours, it's about only eight hours that they can unload," said Methusalah Kunuk, assistant deputy minister of transportation.

"If we had a proper port they would be able to unload 24 hours and probably speed up the time they stay here."

Advocates also say a port in Iqaluit would end the use of pipes for bulk fuel deliveries, which they view as a safety hazard. They also suggest it could support tourism, and create a fishing industry.

The idea of a port for Iqaluit has been talked about and studied for years, but nobody has come forward with the funding.

Nunavut Government officials said they still hope down the road the city will receive funding from the federal government for the construction of a port.