Friday, January 29, 2010

Cat Fix

The government of Nova Scotia finally got around to admitting that there was a penalty clause for not renewing the subsidy on the Cat ferry.
In December 2009 when the government refused to extend the subsidy for another year, Bay Ferries closed the service. Presumably they are trying to find other employment for the ferry or to sell it. This can take a long time, based on previous sales of Incat type ferries. There is not exactly a huge market for this type of craft-they only pay for themselves when used in certain types of work where high speed makes sense.
In their 2008 deal with the previous government of Nova Scotia, Bay Ferries got a cancellation fee of up to $3mn if the subsidy was not continued. The amount of the fee will depend on whether and when Bay Ferries is able to sell the Cat. This makes sense-how could they be expected to run such a service with no future?
It is too bad that the present provincial government didn't put all these cards on the table in December, it makes then look very bad (if not stupid.) Had they put all the numbers out in December they wouldn't be in this fix now.
The president of Bay Ferries was interviewed by CBC News, from Australia. Incat fast ferries are built in Tasmania (part of Australia)(Tasmania:Australia=Newfoundland:Canada), so he is probably in heavy negotiations with Incat on redeploying/ buying back/trading the Cat. Good luck to him in this economy.
I don't know where the Cat is now, but why wasn't it fired up to get supplies to Haiti quickly - instead of waiting for a week to get warships there?

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