Marine Atlantic warns of significant rate increases

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DIEPPE, N.B. — The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) is decrying impending Marine Atlantic rate increases for commercial vehicles.

The ferry operator warned APTA that effective Feb. 12, commercial vehicle rates will go up 4%, drop trailer management fees will increase by $50 and a security surcharge of $3.50 will be added to every load.

“We are not pleased at all with these increases,” said APTA executive director JeanMarc Picard. “We sort of anticipated the 4% on all traffic as it is based on Newfoundland’s CPI increase. However, the $50 increase on all drop trailers represents a 24% increase. I can’t imagine how a carrier will be able to absorb this increase or pass it on to their customers without repercussions.”

Marine Atlantic said the fees are required to offset its own operating costs increases, but Picard warned “This will have a devastating impact on our industry, our ability to stay competitive in that market and will likely result in loss of business for some carriers as customers will look to other sources to bring in supplies.”

Picard added “I have difficulty understanding the 24% increase for drop trailer management. If Marine Atlantic’s operating cost for drop trailer increased 24%, they have some serious operating deficiencies. It is absolutely unacceptable.”

Picard said the APTA will be meeting with Marine Atlantic officials in the coming weeks to raise its concerns. It will also be contacting the federal government, which owns the ferry service.

“As an organization, we value the relationship that we have built with Marine Atlantic over the years and we consider them as partners to our industry although we strongly feel that these increases are unacceptable and should be revised for the sake of the economy in Atlantic Canada,” Picard said.

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