News release

Premier Receives Ferry Report

An independent report received by Premier Darrell Dexter today, Sept. 7, suggests that a sustainable ferry operation between Yarmouth and Maine is achievable, but will require a different business model than in the past.

The definitive report, developed by a panel of experts appointed in April, suggests a cruise ferry model operating between Yarmouth and Portland, focusing on passengers' on-board experience, could be commercially sustainable.

"I want to recognize the extraordinary efforts made by the panel members to develop this very credible report," said Premier Dexter. "Their work is a credit to the people of southwest Nova Scotia, and provides clear direction for government as we work towards a sustainable ferry service."

The report indicates that a successful ferry operation will require a $30-million to $35-million front-end investment by government partners, to:

  • repair and refurbish the federally owned Yarmouth terminal facilities
  • provide a portion of start-up funding for baseline research, advertising and certain costs related to vessel acquisition and financing
  • to cover early years of operating losses

The report indicates the success of a commercially viable ferry hinges on being able to build passenger traffic back to 130,000 to 135,000 passengers per year.

A financial projection in the report suggests the operation could break even around the seventh year and achieve modest profit after that, although greater upside would be possible if more passengers could be attracted. To achieve that, a wider marketing strategy would be needed to market to U.S. tourists, and enhance the tourism product in southwest Nova Scotia.

"I believe the panel has fulfilled its mandate to provide the government with the evidence and business analysis it needs to reach a decision on a potential ferry between Yarmouth and Maine," said panel chair Dr. Peter Nicholson. "In doing so, we have benefited greatly from other highly competent studies over the past two years."

Dr. Nicholson is the former president and CEO for the Council of Canadian Academies. Other panel members were: Michele McKenzie, president and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission; Elizabeth Beale, president and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council; and Peter Wild, a U.K.-based consultant specializing in the operation of ferries and tourism. Professor Mary Brooks, from the Dalhousie School of Business Administration, led a team from Dalhousie University that provided research and organizational support for the review.

The full report and panel member bios are available at www.gov.ns.ca/econ .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

An independent report received by Premier Darrell Dexter today (September 7th) suggests that a sustainable ferry operation between Yarmouth and Maine is achievable, but will require a different business model than in the past.

The definitive report, developed by a panel of experts appointed in April, suggests a cruise ferry between Yarmouth and Portland, focusing on passengers' on-board experience, could be commercially sustainable.

Premier Dexter recognizes the panels extraordinary efforts and says its work is a credit to the people of southwest Nova Scotia, and provides clear direction for government as we work towards a sustainable ferry service.

The report indicates that a successful ferry operation will require a 30-million to 35-million-dollar investment by government partners.

The full report and panel member bios are available at w-w-w dot gov dot n-s dot c-a slash e-con.

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Media Contact:

Melissa MacKinnon
Executive Council Office Cell: 902-240-9077 E-mail: