August 22, 2013

Maine to help market Canada ferry, secure line of credit

LePage meets with Nova Scotia's economic minister to move the project forward.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Gov. Paul LePage met with Nova Scotia's economic minister Wednesday about a planned ferry service and offered marketing assistance and help securing an operating line of credit.

click image to enlarge

A Maine company called Quest Navigation Inc., has joined with International Shipping Partners of Miami and ST Marine of Singapore for a proposal to operate at ferry service between New England and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The vessel, built in Singapore, would be called the Nova Star. It has 162 cabins, two restaurants and a maximum capacity for 1,250 passengers. It is 59-feet longer than the Scotia Prince, which operated between Portland and Yarmouth from 1982 to 2004.

Photo courtesy Quest Navigation

click image to enlarge

It is a $5 million line of credit, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Last week, Minister Graham Steele announced that STM Quest Inc., a joint venture by Maine-based Quest Navigation Inc. and two other firms, had been chosen to set up and run a ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The service would restore a ferry operation that ended in 2009.

Canadian officials have pledged to subsidize the ferry service at $3 million a year for seven years.

"Since 2009, Nova Scotia and Maine have missed a critical link between our citizens and economies," LePage said. "We welcome restoration of this important service and economic driver."

The ferry service is proposed to begin in the spring of 2014 with a new ship with capacity for 1,250 passengers and 300 vehicles.

Steele, whose official title is Nova Scotia's Minister of Economic and Rural Development, also said Portland mayor Michael Brennan was strongly behind the proposal.

"I'm really pleased with the response of the state and city leaders that I met with in Maine," said Steele. "They're excited about the prospect of a re-established ferry link, and are ready to do their part to make to make it happen."

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com

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