Marine Atlantic to cut 2 crossings a week this summer
Lower traffic blamed for cut to service between North Sydney and Port aux Basques
Marine Atlantic is cutting the number of crossings this summer between North Sydney, N.S., and Port aux Basques, N.L. because there's less passenger and commercial traffic than expected.
Two crossings a week will be eliminated. The service between Argentia, N.L., and North Sydney will not change.
Darrell Mercer of Marine Atlantic says the MV Leif Ericson — which handles only commercial traffic — will be on standby this summer and used only when there's enough demand.
"We're going to have fewer seasonal workers available this summer," Mercer says. "Ultimately with the change in the number of crossings we won't need as many people to help load the vessels, to man the vessels."
He says commercial traffic may be down because there's less home construction in Newfoundland and Labrador, and there are fewer passengers because more people are flying.
"People's value of time is changing," he says. "They'd rather fly than have a driving holiday because of the price of gas. If you hop on an airplane you can be somewhere fairly quick, versus a driving vacation."
Mercer could not say how many workers will be out of a job.
Peter Gillis, president of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1259, says at least 30 of his members won't get work this summer.
"It’s scary to think that there’s probably 30 young families... here's another group of people that have to go out west to work, when typically they should be working here," Gillis says.
He says the union is in talks with Marine Atlantic to see if there's some way to keep those seasonal jobs.