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Government releases plan to revitalize Marine Atlantic service

OTTAWA, Ont. -- The Ministry of Transport has released a long-term strategy to revitalize the passenger and freight...

OTTAWA, Ont. — The Ministry of Transport has released a long-term strategy to revitalize the passenger and freight ferry service operated by Marine Atlantic in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Government of Canada has heard users’ concerns and is responding actively to help stabilize the service over the long term,” said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

The first phase of the strategy includes: predictable annual tariff increases on the constitutional route to be adjusted to the Consumer Price Index immediately; a fuel surcharge to cover future increases in Marine Atlantic’s fuel expense; a five-year plan developed by the board of directors outlining specific initiatives to enable the corporation to improve the services to users and achieve operational efficiencies, including a fuel savings plan; advancement of the fleet renewal plan; and additional funding in the amount of $54 million per year for the next five years.

The second phase of the strategy will comprise an extensive capital project for the renewal of the fleet, to be submitted to Ministers for approval within the next two years.

“This strategy has been carefully developed to ensure an economically viable Marine Atlantic ferry service,” said Minister Cannon. “This approach strikes a balance between the Canadian taxpayers contribution to the service, the stakeholders share of the cost of the service, and the Crown corporation’s effort to contain operational expenses.”

Marine Atlantic was created in 1986 to operate the ferry service between Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador and North Sydney, N.S. In 2005, the corporation’s vessels carried more than 418,000 passengers and close to 87,000 commercial vehicles.

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