A New Bedford-based barge company will fill the shipping gulf that threatened Nantucket after United Parcel Service failed to make adequate Steamship Authority reservations for its trucks this summer.

At a special online meeting Friday, the SSA board of governors voted unanimously to award 41 North Offshore, LLC, a five-month contract to carry freight only between New Bedford and Nantucket.

“Our understanding is that UPS is just going to be using the service to supplement the reservations we were unable get for them,” boat line general manager Robert Davis told the board.

Under the new contract, 41 North Offshore’s barges will make up to 70 round trips from New Bedford between May 17 and Oct. 19, paying a $200 fee to the SSA to dock at its Nantucket slip.

The pilot agreement is for freight only, and prohibits the barges from carrying waste or hazardous materials to New Bedford.

While the deal could cost the SSA more than $200,000 in freight fares, boat line general counsel Terrence Kenneally said he expects that standard-fare automobiles will replace the revenue by booking any empty spaces.

“People (were) competing for space last year,” Mr. Kenneally said. “It’s going to even things out.”

Mr. Kenneally also looked into 41 North Offshore’s finances and documentation, he said, finding all in order. The company already works with the SSA, he added.

“They do regular business with us in terms of delivering modular homes, as well as transporting bulk materials,” he said.

Boat line governor Robert Jones of Barnstable initially balked at the terms of the contract, saying he wanted to see a license fee as well as a docking fee.

“The Steamship Authority was developed as a monopoly to ensure that we would... operate in the black, and you don’t do that by giving away ridership numbers,” Mr. Jones said.

“I don’t care abut the trade-offs. I care about the service,” he added. “The Steamship Authority should look after its own pocketbook, because it’s the rate payers that suffer.”

But Falmouth governor Peter Jeffrey expressed concern that additional fees might be a “poison pill” that could lead 41 North Offshore to withdraw.

“The economic impact on Nantucket, I think, would be devastating if they don’t get their freight during this season,” Mr. Jeffrey said.

After Nantucket governor Robert Ranney said he wanted to see the contract go forward, Mr. Jones joined the rest of the board in voting for the pilot barge program this summer.