ST. JOHN’S, NL – Marine Atlantic on Tuesday announced it will purchase the MV Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders to continue ferry service for vehicles and passengers travelling between Port aux Basques, NL and North Sydney, NS.
The vessel purchase is part of an approximately $375 million investment in Marine Atlantic’s service announced by the federal government last month.
Each vessel, which has been providing service between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia since 2011, reportedly costs $100 million, while the remaining amount of money will be used for pay for operational and other capital projects.
Accordign to the Marine Atlantic website, the company transports in excess of 100,000 commercial vehicles each year, representing a wide variety of items and accounting for more than 50% of all goods being shipped to and from the Island of Newfoundland.
The announcement builds upon the previous five-year, $521 million funding commitment announced in 2010 which was used to renew Marine Atlantic’s fleet, upgrade shore-based infrastructure and renew business processes
“We are very excited with this announcement and the benefits for our customers,” said Paul Griffin, Marine Atlantic’s president and CEO. “These vessels will provide positive results for Marine Atlantic’s service for years to come. We have already witnessed significant improvements over the past five-years; this new funding envelope will see that momentum continue into the future.”
Both the MV Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders have been on charter agreement since joining Marine Atlantic’s fleet. The vessels have dramatically improved vessel reliability, added significantly more vehicle capacity, increased the number of cabins and seating spaces available to customers, and introduced many new amenities for the use of passengers, according to the Crown corporation.
The announcement is in addition to the extension announced in February for the MV Atlantic Vision, connecting Newfoundland and Labrador with the rest of Canada.
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