Cat ferry service
Other outstanding issues are with United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP says much work is needed to bring the Bar Harbor terminal up to its standards – work Bay Ferries would carry out. It has also asked that Bay Ferries cover the salaries of CBP staff at the Bar Harbor terminal. MacDonald confirmed that both of these things have been requested but wouldn’t comment further when asked if asking Bay Ferries to cover the CBP salaries is an unusual request.
When it comes to terminal upgrades, Bay Ferries and the province of Nova Scotia would be covering the cost. MacDonald has stated the cost would be about $3 million U.S., although this was not yet a firm figure. Bay Ferries has said staying in Portland would have cost additional dollars as a commitment would have been needed for construction of a new US Customs and Border Protection facility. The likely cost would have been in the $7-8 million range, the company said.
Prior to the 2018 season Bay Ferries and the Province of Nova Scotia spent $1.5 million on customs upgrades in Portland. That purchased equipment is owned by the province.
Bay Ferries says ideally for an upcoming ferry season marketing would start as early as January or February, although that hasn’t always been possible in recent years. The company is participating in the Boston Globe Travel Show later this month.
Bay Ferries says it maintains ongoing close collaboration with Tourism Nova Scotia and has been in contact with various customers concerning the 2019 service.
In 2018, Bay Ferries transported 50,185 passengers to and from Nova Scotia, an increase of 21 per cent from the year before. In 2017 The Cat carried 41,623 passengers despite having to cancel 25 per cent of its crossings due to an engine issue. In 2016 it transported 35,551 passengers.