In the wake of the withdrawal of cargo services by Oceanex, MP Gerry Byrne is asking the Corner Brook Port Corporation’s board of directors to call a public meeting on the port’s administration, business plan and future outlook.
“The decision by Oceanex to lay off its four remaining staff at Corner Brook and to terminate its contract with its security services provider, coupled with the statement by the company that there are no specific plans to re-instate regular freight services to the port in the future, was a certainly dark day in the future of the port and for the economy of our region,” Byrne said.
In a prepared statement last week, George Murphy, chairperson of the board, said there are no barriers to entry or access to the port — including availing of the services of the crane — which would prevent the corporation from negotiating a long-term or one-off agreement for a single vessel or multiple calls.
In 2008, the Port and Oceanex signed a five-year lease, which had six renewal terms of five years each, providing for a total term of 35 years, said Murphy. To qualify for any renewal option Oceanex has to meet a minimum commitment in terms of tonnage and vessel calls, said the corporation’s statement.
Byrne said the port is not just an important business within our region, but is also a critical economic driver for dozens of other businesses and potential business opportunities in our area.
“Given the large public interest and concern that is being registered about the future operations of the port, a public meeting that would include a question and answer period from the media and the public is a must at this point,” Byrne said.
“It would also be helpful if Oceanex’s Sid Hynes could also make himself available for this public meeting.”