Ferry service between Nova Scotia and Portland, which stopped in 2009, is back on the table for leaders of the Canadian province.
Nova Scotia's premier, Darrell Dexter, has put out an expression of interest for a private ferry provider to restart the Portland-to-Nova Scotia service, which in its previous iteration was known as "The Cat," according to the Canadian paper, The News.
The call is based on a report that outlines the decline of the previous ferry service and makes the case for a new connection between the southwest Nova Scotia town of Yarmouth and Portland.
Based on that report, The News reported, the province would need to commit up to $21 million to the effort to restart the ferry over the next seven years, by which point the report said the service should be able to break even. In the coming weeks, provincial officials told The News that they will, in addition to courting private ferry service providers, begin talks with Canadian federal authorities, businesses, municipal leaders in the province and stakeholders in Maine.
The report estimates that a reboot of the ferry service would require around $5 million in startup costs in addition to the $21 million to cover operating losses in the first seven years. By the time of the previous ferry's closure, the service was losing around $7 million annually.
The report attributed the previous service's decline to decreased ridership and increasing fuel costs, while making the case that better marketing and a quality on-board experience could lead to a successful and profitable service with around 130,000 passengers a year, The News reported.