New cargo ferry service in Maritimes considered

HALIFAX, (April 11, 2003) — Shippers in Nova Scotia and Massachusetts are looking to establish a year-round cargo ferry service between Shelburne and Portsmouth, N.H. which would provide truckers with an alternative transport route to and from each point.

The Chronicle-Herald reported negotiations are underway to obtain a vessel in Europe. The ship being considered has capacity for 80 trailers, 15 metres long.

“We are trying to put in a (roll on/roll off) run every other day to New Hampshire,” Ralph Belfiore president of Chelmsford, Mass.-based Scarlet Letter Cargo, told the newspaper. “We would like to start as soon as possible, but there is still work to do.”

The company will begin a survey to determine what interest there would be in the service, which may begin in about six months.

Shelburne’s mayor told the paper it’s unlikely the town would have to do any infrastructure work because the ship being considered has a ramping system and the tides in Shelburne would not cause a problem for loading and unloading. The shipping line is seeking a 20-year commitment from the town.

Trucks travelling into New England and destinations farther south currently take either the ferry from Digby to Saint John or drive through New Brunswick via Amherst and enter the U.S. at Calais or Houlton, where thousands of trucks cross the border annually.

Rates for the service are under consideration and may be $700 to $800 for a one-way trip.

–via The Chronicle-Herald

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