Home Arts, Culture & Education Culture Life on the (Floe) Edge

Life on the (Floe) Edge

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Itee Pootoogook Floe Edge, Winter, 2009 serigraph on wove paper, 26 x 96 cm Purchased 2013 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Photo: NGC. Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts and under license from the National Gallery of Canada.

Traditional knowledge and values combine with modern vessels and management to deliver world-leading Arctic sealift and resupply services.

On a typical sailing over Canada’s short Arctic shipping season, the MV Sinaa calls on as many as eight remote communities. The vessel reliably delivers essential goods from construction materials and heavy equipment needed for critical new housing projects, to the nutritious foods and inventory required to restock store shelves and warehouses.

‘Sinaa’ means “floe edge” in Inuktitut, the dynamic space where moving water meets ice that holds fast to the shore. This is a place of annual change and where nature meets community. As spring turns to summer, and as ice melts and breaks away, another tradition takes place, the annual summer sealift.

“With every beach landing, in every community we serve, NEAS reliably delivers for our customers,” says Suzanne Paquin, President and CEO of The NEAS Group. “Arrival of a NEAS vessel is an annual summer tradition that people and communities welcome, season after season.”

The NEAS fleet of vessels are loaded from the NEAS terminal at the Port of Valleyfield in Quebec. Ship Masters and crews prepare for sailings, gather and review data, and carefully plan for safe and reliable sailings in unpredictable and extreme conditions.

NEAS business decisions and values are guided by the vision of its shareholders, including Makivik Corporation.

The NEAS MV Sinaa is a 137-metre, Ice Class 1, Inuit-owned Canadian flag vessel with a cargo capacity of 15,820 cubic metres, or 720 twenty-foot shipping containers. © NEAS Group – Quentin Brenneur

Created in 1978, Makivik is the Nunavik Inuit land claims organization mandated under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. It is entrusted with developing successful businesses to generate employment for Inuit, to support social andeconomic development, to improve housing and to protect Inuit language, culture and the natural environment.

“To further our interests in the North, we needed critical ownership of modern sealift assets ready and able to improve services,” says Charlie Watt, president of Makivik Corp. “Our priority is to put local customer interests at the heart of service.”

Makivik is a 50 per cent shareholder of the NEAS Group with Transport Nanuk Inc., a joint venture between Logistec Corporation and The North WestCompany.

“Over the last 20 years,” says Paquin, “our shared values have guided our success with fleet renewal and modernization, customer service excellence, and environmental performance.”

Charlie Watt, President, Makivik Corporation, and Suzanne Paquin, President and CEO, The NEAS Group.

NEAS success has resulted in cutting-edge and sustainable summer sealift and resupply services for individuals, families, communities, schools, governments, mines, defence, construction, energy and other industries, sites and installations across the Eastern and Western Canadian Arctic.

The NEAS fleet renewal strategy has been key. In 2000, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2017 and 2019, NEAS purchased and imported modern vessels for Canadian flag operation as a transportation backbone to sustainable economic and social development inthe Canadian Arctic. Today, the NEAS fleet is the only Inuit-owned ice class fleet in Canada.

NEAS Cargo Service Centre created the “ONE-STOP-SHOP” to improve packaging and containerization options, key factors in increasing the capacity of eachvessel and reducing the cost per ton shipped by over 50 per cent since 2000. By introducing the NEAS “MINI” 10-foot container units, the same security featuresand benefits of standard units are available for customers with smaller volume requirements. To improve cargo discharge and safety at the high-water mark,NEAS has made significant investments in state-of-the-art cargo unloading equipment. NEAS offers everything needed to discharge without port infrastructure, enabling quick turnaround times and reliable deliveries. “NEAS innovations incustomer service, warehousing, containerization combined with significant capital investment in an Inuit-owned fleet have been a recipe for success,” says Watt.“NEAS is now poised on the edge of delivering even greater service and local benefits.”

Established in 1998, NEAS Group Inc. is the packager of choice for governments, retailers, major building contractors, construction suppliers, and military contractors. Visit NEAS.ca, call 1-877-225-6327 or email sales@neas.ca.

Summer is Coming. The NEAS MV Aujuaq (“Summer” in Inuktitut) is a sister ship to the MV Sinaa, both purchased by NEAS in 2019.