OTTAWA, Ont. — Bill Matthews MP (Random-Burin-St. George’s) and Mark Eyking MP (Sydney-Victoria) have announced that the Government of Canada will maintain Marine Atlantic’s drop-trailer service under certain conditions. Matthews and Eyking made the announcement on behalf of Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre.
On May 6, an advisory committee examining the future of Marine Atlantic made 41 recommendations for improving ferry service. To date, over half of the recommendations have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented. One of the recommendations, however, raised concerns with stakeholders. That recommendation was to eliminate drop-trailer service in order to improve Marine Atlantic’s efficiency. After hearing stakeholders’ views, the Government of Canada commissioned a study on the impact of the elimination of the drop-trailer service.
“Eliminating drop-trailer service is not a measure the Government of Canada would take lightly,” Lapierre said. “Today’s decision to retain services came after much deliberation and consultation and I’m pleased to announce an approach which benefits everyone involved.”
The Government of Canada has decided to continue the service provided that the level of cost recovery for the service is acceptable, the service is handled more efficiently by Marine Atlantic, and the trucking industry improves efforts to work with Marine Atlantic on initiatives to better manage traffic demand.
In addition, the Government of Canada has said it supports Marine Atlantic’s proposal to construct a second dock in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador. The second dock is designed to improve turnaround time and promote the efficient and reliable operation of the ferry service.
“I am very pleased with Minister Lapierre’s public commitment to the building of a second dock in Port aux Basques,” Matthews said. “It has long been a concern to residents in this part of my riding and I am convinced that the Marine Atlantic service will benefit greatly from this investment.”
“This is great news for the people who depend on the drop-trailer service provided by Marine Atlantic,” Eyking said. “The drop-trailer service accounts for 50 per cent of Marine Atlantic’s commercial business. The maintenance of this service will be of great benefit to Cape Breton and Newfoundland and Labrador.”
According to officials, the independent study on the impact of eliminating the drop-trailer service will be available to the public shortly. The Government of Canada has said it remains committed to stabilizing Marine Atlantic and ensuring that the important transportation services it provides Canadians remain safe, reliable, efficient and affordable.
Transport Canada has said it will continue to work with Marine Atlantic to develop a long-term strategy that will consider important elements such as rates structure, governance and fleet requirements.
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