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Published in: Cruise News

With expedition ships making major itinerary changes due to unfavorable ice conditions in the Northwest Passage recently, CMI Leisure is doing something similar, changing supply routes on the fly to keep its fleet of vessels well provisioned.

The go-to management company in the expedition sector, CMI Leisure oversees hotel services for a large portion of the globe’s quickly-expanding expedition fleet.

“It’s about the cargo capacity and how many jets,” said Dietmar Wertanzl, president of CMI Leisure.

With supplies often waiting at airports in Canada, it’s a matter of where those planes are flying to meet the ships.

With challenging conditions in Ilullissat and Kugluktuk, the alternative port is generally Resolute. But now, ice conditions mean both are off limits temporarily.

In this case, with vessels changing turnaround ports beyond the main options, landing strips for airlift got smaller. CMI then found new aircraft which could land on shorter runways, in Pond Inlet, for instance.

“The new plane may have more limited cargo space,” Wertanzl noted.

The story didn’t stop there – as the company then had to plan how to get supplies from the airport to the ship.

“It’s a logistical and coordination issue,” said Wertanzl.

He added that provisioning for Arctic operations was more challenging compared to Antarctica.

In Greenland, provisioning is most often tied into local ferry service. But a ferry showing up a day late can miss a cruise ship leaving. If CMI has doubts on ferry arrival times, it will charter aircraft and fly in supplies from Iceland or Germany.

“We’ve established a good network in Iceland to do plane provisions,” Wertanzl continued.

The latest round of itinerary changes had the company moving quickly – with ships making major sailing plan changes in just a few days.

“For us, the good news is that over the years we have established relationships with suppliers that can help us at the last minute, and help coordinate the logistics. We always deal with the unknown.”

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