Province Releases Draft Request for Proposals for Yarmouth Ferry

The province has a plan to attract a qualified ferry operator with a transparent competitive process. A draft request for proposals was issued on October 23, which will be used in discussions with potential ferry operators. Information gathered will be used for revisions to a formal request for proposals.

The province asked an expert panel to review studies on ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States and meet with various interested people to find conditions needed for a viable service.

The report, released September 7, 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 operator will need to present a plan that shows:

  • a ferry service will be profitable within seven years
  • reflects the winning conditions set out by the expert panel
  • will meet the requirements for the province's support package.

The province is prepared to commit as much as $21 million over seven years to attract a new long-term cruise ferry operation in Yarmouth, run by a qualified ferry operator.

The panel report estimates there will also be about $5 million in start-up costs for baseline research, advertising, vessel acquisition and financing. A federal government study indicates that up to $13 million would be needed to repair and refurbish the Yarmouth terminal facilities, owned by the federal government.