News release

Province Receives Bids for Yarmouth Ferry

People and businesses in southwest Nova Scotia are closer to a new ferry service in Yarmouth.

Two companies have submitted proposals to set up and run a commercially viable ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States.

"Many people living in southwest Nova Scotia have told me they want a stable ferry service in Yarmouth that they can count on being there for the long-term. This is what we want, too," said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau, on behalf of Rural and Economic Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris.

"I'm pleased that we have received proposals. We need to ensure that, if there is a new ferry service, it will be the right one for Nova Scotia -- viable and stable in the long term, and in the best interests of taxpayers."

Proposals were received from Quest Navigation Inc. and Maritime Applied Physics Corporation.

The proposals will be evaluated, with criteria in the request for proposals, by a committee of representatives from provincial departments and the private sector. The evaluation will take about one month.

The request for proposals, part of the province's plan to attract a qualified ferry operator through a thorough, transparent competitive process, closed today, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m.

The province has said it will provide up to $21 million over seven years to an experienced ferry operator with a sound business plan showing a ferry service that will be sustainable within seven years.

"The province has taken proactive steps to attract a ferry operator to run a sustainable service," said Mr. Belliveau. "But we can't do this alone. For this to be successful, several factors need to be in place, including timely support from the federal government and a viable plan from an experienced ferry company.

"The continued support from residents, businesses and municipalities of southwest Nova Scotia, whose passion we've seen over these past three years, is also important."

An expert panel, reviewed studies and met with people and groups to identify the conditions needed for a viable ferry service. In its report, released Sept. 7, the panel said a cruise service could 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 south west Nova Scotia

The province consulted with potential bidders, and issued a draft request for proposals Oct. 23, for input. It was used to refine the final request for proposals, and make sure it was comprehensive and clear.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Two companies have submitted proposals to set up and run a new ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States.

The companies that submitted proposals are Quest Navigation Inc. and Maritime Applied Physics Corporation.

The province's request for proposals closed today (January 24th), at 2 p-m.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Sterling Belliveau, on behalf of Rural and Economic Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris, says the province is pleased proposals have been received. He says, to get financial support from the province, a company will need to present a sound business plan showing the ferry service can be sustainable in seven years.

The province has said it will provide up to 21 million dollars over seven years to help set up the ferry service, if certain conditions are met.

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Media Contact:

Tina Thibeau
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism 902-424-5836 E-mail: