Mechanical snags compound Marine Atlantic problems

NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. – Already angry with Marine Atlantic‘s controversial reservation system, East Coast truckers are ready to throw the ferry service overboard after scheduled crossings were delayed as much as 11 hours Tuesday.

The Crown Corporation said it is experiencing problems with three of its four ferries.

The Joseph and Clara Smallwood reportedly had engine problems, and there were some issues with the Caribou as well, a spokeswoman told CBC.

Barring other problems, she said that the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland crossings should be back on track on Thursday.

The disruption comes in the middle of the peak tourist and shipping seasons to The Rock; and at a time when small carriers and owner-ops are protesting the ferry’s booking system.

The truckers say the new reservation system is hurting business with long wait times and cancellations. 

Smaller truckers also complain that larger carriers are block-booking reservations and then canceling spots at the last minute. Previously, truckers boarded the ferries on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Some truckers report that they can’t book space for up to three weeks and have threatened to stage protests at the ferry terminal.

Last week, the company sent a letter to truckers warning them that they could be refused service if they interrupt operations.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.