Ma­rine At­lantic vs Oceanex

PAB & area cham­ber weighs in.

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front page - BY ROS­ALYN ROY Ros­alyn.roy@gulfnews.ca Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

PORT AUX BASQUES, NL – The Port aux Basques & Area Cham­ber of Com­merce has re­leased a state­ment about Oceanex’s re­cent bid to have Ma­rine At­lantic sub­si­dies re­duced. The two com­pa­nies bring in nearly all of the is­land’s com­mer­cial freight, and Oceanex is ask­ing the trans­port min­is­ter to re­con­sider Ma­rine At­lantic’s 2016-2017 rates. The case was heard in St. John’s fed­eral court in late Oc­to­ber, and a de­ci­sion is not ex­pected un­til spring. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the Crown cor­po­ra­tion re­ported more than 750 em­ploy­ees based out of its Port aux Basques ter­mi­nal – 283 shore­based work­ers and 494 ves­sel-based em­ploy­ees. As the town is a key point of en­try for the prov­ince, the out­come of the court case could have a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on the south­west re­gion, where most of the cor­po­ra­tion’s work­force re­sides. Natashua Os­mond, managing co­or­di­na­tor for the cham­ber, sent the fol­low­ing state­ment to the Gulf News. “The cham­ber would like to voice their con­cerns re­volv­ing around the Sid Hynes vs. Ma­rine At­lantic sit­u­a­tion. The cham­ber cur­rently has 102 busi­nesses that are mem­bers and some of them are start­ing to get wor­ried about whether or not Sid Hynes wins his case. “If the sub­sidy for Ma­rine At­lantic goes to Oceanex or is even shared, the busi­nesses and con­sumers will cer­tainly see the ef­fects from it. Ma­rine At­lantic will have to put their costs up, which means the stores will have to put their costs up and then the con­sumers will have to suf­fer for it. Busi­nesses could go out of busi­ness as they strug­gle on a day-to-day ba­sis as it is. “The cham­ber has been telling all of the busi­nesses to voice their con­cerns and frus­tra­tions to our MHA. It is a very scary sit­u­a­tion to be in right about now.” Os­mond also shared her own feel­ings on the court case. “Even speak­ing on a per­sonal level, my hus­band works with Ma­rine At­lantic, and if there are job cuts, his would most likely be one – which means we would have no other choice but to move away as we would not be able to af­ford what we have.”

J. R. ROY/SPE­CIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

Ma­rine At­lantic com­mer­cial freight plays a vi­tal role in the econ­omy of the south­west coast.

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