April 29, 2013

Panel seeks operator for Portland-to-Nova Scotia ferry

The province is offering $21 million to subsidize the service over seven years, beginning next year.

By Tom Bell tbell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The province of Nova Scotia has created a panel of community, tourism and business leaders to find an operator to run a ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland next year.

click image to enlarge

The high-speed ferry called The Cat docks for the first time at the Ocean Gateway terminal in Portland in this May 2008 photo. The ferry service ended in 2009 when the Nova Scotia government decided to stop subsidizing it.

AP

The province, which is offering $21 million to subsidize the service over seven years, is asking interested ferry operators to submit their proposals by June 20.

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood will chair the committee, which will begin work immediately, according to a statement by Percy Paris, the minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

Last summer, a panel of industry experts determined that ferry service could be a viable business venture. The province put out a request for proposals in late 2012 and received two submissions, both of which were rejected in March after the province determined that neither met the "minimum criteria." 

No ferry service has operated between Nova Scotia and the United States since 2009, when a high-speed ferry run by Bay Ferries Ltd. ended its operation after the Nova Scotia government decided to stop subsidizing it. The high-speed ferry service had operated between Yarmouth, Bar Harbor and Portland.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be reached at: 791-6369

tbell@mainetoday.com

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