(St. John’s, NL, 17 December 2013) The Provincial Government announced today a request for proposals (RFP) to secure a single contractor to provide comprehensive marine services to Labrador over a 15-year term.

Commenting on the RFP Nick McGrath, Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs said,“In order to facilitate continued growth and prosperity throughout Labrador, we must improve marine transportation in the region. We look forward to partnering with a contractor to secure a faster, more efficient, long-term solution for ferry-dependent communities in Labrador.”

The RFP calls for the provision of a single contractor to provide new marine services for Labrador for 15 years commencing in 2016. A minimum of two vessels will provide passenger, vehicle and freight service for both the north coast of Labrador and the Labrador Straits. Vessels will be ice-class, have roll-on, roll-off capability and must be new or built in 2010 or later. The deadline for receipt of proposals is April 30, 2014.

At present, ferry services across the Strait of Belle Isle are provided by the MV Apollo under a contract with Labrador Marine Inc., and during the winter months the province provides the MV Sir Robert Bond with service contracted with CAI Nunatsiavut Marine. The Department of Transportation and Works is issuing a second RFP this week to secure year-round marine service for the Labrador Straits up to the introduction of new consolidated ferry services in 2016.

Services to the coast of Labrador are provided by contracts with CAI Nunatsiavut Marine and Labrador Marine Inc. and will extend through 2016 to provide passenger and freight service to coastal Labrador via the MV Northern Ranger and the MV Astron. The minister affir,med that, “Ferry service is fundamental to the economic and social well-being of many communities throughout Labrador and new multi-purpose vessels will ensure a comprehensive marine service to address the needs of residential and business users into the future.”

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Media contact: Carol Ann Carter,Director of Communications, Department of Transportation and Works; 709-729-3015, 631-9505; carolanncarter@gov.nl.ca