News: Truckers worried about new Bay of Fundy ferry's capacity

CTV Atlantic - November 27, 2014

A new ferry is due to arrive in the Maritimes in a matter of days, but some worry about the chosen ship’s ability to handle the all-important commercial traffic between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The new ferry – a $45-million purchase by the federal government – came from the Greek islands and will replace MV Princess of Acadia on the Digby, N.S. to Saint John run.

The vessel is faster than the old ferry and can accommodate more cars and passengers, but fewer trucks.

Horst Puff, a trucker hauling a load of Christmas trees from Nova Scotia to Rhode Island, said the ferry service saves truckers time and money.

“We have lots of runs of Christmas trees down to the States, down to New England states, down to Virginia Beach and so on, so it saves us … in one round trip up to 14 hours driving,” Horst said.

Truckers fear that during peak times, such as when they’re moving Nova Scotia seafood, some trucks will get left behind.

“There could be 20 to 25 (trucks) there on a busy day,” said trucker Chad Melanson.

“If there’s a lot of car traffic, well then the trucks don’t get to go on right, so it makes it hard to make a living there when we have to drive around with one driver.”

Saint John MP Rodney Weston told CTV News on Thursday the new ferry will meet the needs of both tourists and truckers the vast majority of the time.

He said when there’s heavy demand from the trucking industry, extra crossings will be considered.

Truckers say Nova Scotia’s fishing industry depends on it.

“It if handles less trucks, in the busy season, in the lobster season, they should run twice a day,” said trucker Brian Wentzell.

The new ferry is currently making its way across the Atlantic Ocean, and is expected to arrive in Saint John early next week.

From there, it will go to Digby for an extensive refit.

The new ferry is expected to go into service in time for next year’s tourism season, but a specific date has yet to be announced.

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