Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 09, 2012 - 3:14 pm

Qikiqtaaluk Corp. cuts ties with NEAS

Inuit birthright organization now looking to invest elsewhere in Nunavut marine transport

SARAH ROGERS
NEAS Inc.'s MV Aivik is pictured here. Qikiqtaaluk Corporation just announced that it sold all of its interest in Nunavut Eastern Shipping Inc. to Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. last fall. The development arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association says it is now looking to invest in other Arctic marine shipping ventures. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NEAS)
NEAS Inc.'s MV Aivik is pictured here. Qikiqtaaluk Corporation just announced that it sold all of its interest in Nunavut Eastern Shipping Inc. to Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. last fall. The development arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association says it is now looking to invest in other Arctic marine shipping ventures. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NEAS)

Qikiqtaaluk Corp. says it is looking to find new ways of investing in the territory’s marine transportation industry.

The development arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced this week that – as of September, 2011 – it had sold all of its interest in Nunavut Eastern Shipping Inc. to Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. and “will no longer have any continuing relationship or affiliation of any sort with NEAS.”

Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc., a Quebec-based shipping company, continues to be Nunavut Inuit majority-owned:

Tukimut, a “locally-owned,” Inuit business, holds 51 per cent of the voting shares, while NEAS Inc. holds the remaining 49 per cent.

NEAS Inc., continues to be owned by Makivik and Transport Nanuk Inc., a joint venture between Logistec Corp. and the North West Co.

Tukimut is listed as a registered Inuit business with David Ell listed as resident manager.

Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping also launched a new subsidiary last November targetted at its Quebec clients: Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc., which is majority-held by Makivik.

But Qikiqtaaluk Corp. president Harry Flaherty said the decision to sell its shares – which took until February to finalize – was purely a “business decision.”

“Like any corporation does, we have to evaluate all our business partnerships,” Flaherty told Nunatsiaq News.  “After we did that, the board felt it would be better for Qikiqtaaluk to pull out of this (NEAS) partnership and look at other opportunities.

“It’s one of the business arrangements that would give us more flexibility in pursuing other joint ventures in Nunavut in the marine transportation industry.”

But Flaherty would not hint at any particular investments the corporation might be eyeing.

Flaherty said that Qikiqtaaluk intends to draft a business plan in 2012 that will explore its options in Arctic marine transportation, since it remains the main means of transport for Nunavut infrastructure projects and for communities to receive their annual resupply.

“As a birthright organization, we owe it to Nunavummiut to provide the best possible marine services,” he said.

Qikiqtaaluk owns a handful of subsidiaries, including Qikiqtaaluk Properties Inc., Qikiqtaaluk Logistics and Baffin Gas Ltd.

The corporation is the majority owner in joint ventures Qikiqtaaluk Fisheries and the newer Qikiqtani First Aviation Ltd., with First Air.

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