BAS-CARAQUET (GNB) – The provincial government has signed a contract with Ocean New Brunswick Inc. for the construction of a 15-car river ferry, which will be built at the naval centre in Bas-Caraquet.

“Your government understands the importance of economic development and creating jobs,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser. “The construction of the new ferry will provide employment and create significant economic activity in northeastern New Brunswick.”

Ocean New Brunswick Inc. conducts shipbuilding at the centre. The provincial government assumed ownership and management of the naval centre in 2016.

“Since arriving in Bas-Caraquet, we have worked to create high-quality jobs in the region and to develop the expertise capable of taking on contracts such as the one announced today,” said Jacques Tanguay, CEO of Ocean Group. “We are proud that this ferry will be built and used here in New Brunswick.”

In 2015, the Kennebecasis Island ferry was deemed unseaworthy and removed from service. Since then, service has been provided by a rental vessel at a cost of $750,000 annually. The new ferry, which will be added to the provincial fleet and used on a high-volume run, will eliminate the need for a rental vessel, as another ferry in the fleet will be used in Kennebecasis.

The new vessel will cost an estimated $6.5 million and will be put into service next fall.

Strategic investments in transportation infrastructure are a key element of the Economic Growth Plan, the government’s framework for growing the economy and creating jobs.