Province Issues Request for Proposals for Yarmouth Ferry

Economic and Rural Development and Tourism

December 7, 2012 2:49 PM

People and businesses in southwest Nova Scotia are another step closer to having a ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States.

As part of its plan to attract a qualified ferry operator through a thorough, transparent competitive process, the province issued a request for proposals today, Dec. 7. The deadline to submit a proposal is Jan. 24.

"I've heard from residents and business owners in southwest Nova Scotia that they want a stable ferry service in Yarmouth that will be there for the long term. And we do too," said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

"We've taken the next step in our plan to find a qualified operator to establish a viable ferry service in Yarmouth by issuing a formal request for proposals."

The province used a draft request for proposals, released on Oct. 23, to consult with potential ferry operators. Companies were able to provide their input on the approach outlined in the draft.

"We heard from several ferry operators and considered what we heard to fine tune the request for proposals. By getting input from potential bidders, it will put us in the best position possible to find a ferry operator able to run a commercially viable service between Yarmouth and the United States," said Mr. Paris.

An expert panel was asked by the province to review studies on ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States, and meet with interested people and groups to find conditions needed for a viable service.

In its report, released on Sept. 7, the panel said a cruise ferry service can be viable in the long term if it:
-- provides a high quality on-board experience
-- is supported with a sophisticated marketing strategy
-- leverages a strong tourist experience in southwest Nova Scotia.

The province is prepared to commit as much as $21 million over seven years to attract a long-term cruise ferry service in Yarmouth, run by a qualified operator, if certain conditions are met.

To meet the conditions for the province's support package, the operator will need to present a plan that shows a ferry service will be profitable within seven years and reflects the winning conditions set out by the panel.

The request for proposals is available online at www.gov.ns.ca/tenders/tenders/ns-tenders.aspx .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     People and businesses in southwest Nova Scotia are closer to

having a ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States.

     Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy

Paris says the province has taken the next step in its plan to

find a qualified ferry operator to run a successful ferry service

by issuing a formal request for proposals today (December 7th).

The deadline for proposals is January 24th.

     The request for proposals was finalized after the province

considered input from potential bidders on a draft tender. The

province is prepared to commit as much as 21 million dollars over

seven years to attract a long-term ferry service if conditions

set out by an expert panel are met. The request for proposals is

available online at www DOT gov DOT ns DO ca SLASH tenders .

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Media Contact: Jennifer Gavin
              Economic and Rural Development and Tourism
              902-424-4998
              E-mail: gavinjm@gov.ns.ca