Ministers discuss Marine Atlantic fleet renewal plan

Staff ~ The Telegram
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A fleet renewal strategy for Marine Atlantic was the key topic of discussion during a meeting between provincial Tourism Minister Clyde Jackman and federal Transport Minister Rob Merrifield.
Other issues of concern with the gulf ferry service from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland were also on the agenda.
"Our position is that the federal government must commit to a long-term vessel renewal plan for the Marine Atlantic fleet, eliminate the fuel surcharge imposed on users, and address ongoing issues with the reliability, affordability and quality of the service," Jackman said.
"We will be looking to the federal government to take action, both in the short and long-term, around this vital transportation link that impacts, not only the tourism industry in this province, but all aspects of our economy."
According to a news release, Merrifield committed to pursuing a long-term strategy to address some Marine Atlantic issues - including capacity and reliability of the fleet.
"As of the end of September, Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting a 5.2 per cent increase in non-resident traffic on the Marine Atlantic ferry service to Port aux Basques and Argentia," Jackman said. "Despite the downturn in the global economy, interest in Newfoundland and Labrador as a tourism destination is clearly on the rise, as evidenced by the 1.5 per cent increase in non-resident visitation this year over the same period last year, and a 24 per cent increase in inquiries through our tourism website.
"But we cannot continue to grow this industry without a reliable, affordable Gulf ferry service - and Minister Merrifield appeared to understand and appreciate that point."

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Port aux Basques

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