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UPS figures out Nantucket deliveries after missing ferry deadline

That ship hasn’t sailed yet, but the Steamship Authority will review the company's proposal on April 19.

After missing a ferry reservation deadline, the United Parcel Services (UPS) is reportedly planning to use a tugboat and a barge to deliver packages to Nantucket this summer.

UPS was forced to figure out a different way to make the island deliveries after it failed to reserve ferries in January, and new talks with 41 North Offshore LLC may be the solution, according to WBZ.

UPS will reportedly transport packages from New Bedford to Nantucket if the Steamship Authority approves the route. The board is due to review the proposal at a meeting on April 19. 

If approved, UPS could start delivering packages to Nantucket as early as May.

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The Nantucket Current reports that UPS is without guaranteed ferry reservations for 150 to 200 of its summer trips to the island, but 70 trips with 41 North Offshore’s vessels could cover that gap. 

Located on Fish Island in New Bedford, 41 North Offshore provides tug and barge freight service to waters from Maine down to New Jersey. The company’s co-owner, John Mikutowicz, told The Martha’s Vineyard Times that the barge they’d use will be towed instead of pushed, and is 130 feet long, and 40 feet wide. The company has three vessels available for the partnership.

According to an earlier WBZ report, the Steamship Authority sends reservation forms to shipping companies like UPS in the fall, before ferry reservations open up to the public in January. UPS didn’t make its reservation by that time, so ferries filled to capacity. 

After the mistake was realized, Nantucket businesses were concerned they wouldn’t get the materials needed for the summer tourism season. A boutique owner told WBZ that UPS deliveries make up 75% of their shipments, with deliveries typically showing up in the store twice per day. 

According to Nantucket-ma.gov, about 14,255 people live on the island year-round, but the summer months bring a population of at least 80,000.

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