PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Nova Scotia's economic minister says his country is close to inking a deal that would return ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Minister Graham Steele was in Portland Tuesday and Wednesday, meeting with Portland Mayor Michael Brennan as well as Governor Paul LePage. Steele said he expects there to be a deal between Nova Scotia and ferry operator STM Quest by mid-September. The hope is to nail down a deal as soon as possible to give both countries a chance to market the ferry for an opening in May of 2014.
Steele said, "It's a different ship. It's a new ship. So that the cruise itself is going to be part of the experience, just getting there is going to be part of the enjoyable experience."
The ferry will come into port at the Ocean Gateway Terminal, which was built as a place where both cruise ships and the ferry from Nova Scotia could dock. It opened in 2008, and a year later, Nova Scotia announced it would no longer subsidize the CAT ferry that was making the trips between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The CAT was operating at a loss of $7 million a year.
Steele said the STM Quest ferry would operate 7 days a week, 6 months a year, with a capacity of 1250 passengers and 300 vehicles. There are no plans to make a stop in Bar Harbor, as previous ferries have.
Both Mayor Brennan and Governor LePage have pledged their help to make the ferry a success. LePage said the state would help market the ferry, and his office worked to help STM Quest get a $5 million operating line of credit.