NS & NL: No priority for food trucked to Newfoundland, says Marine Atlantic

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The Cape Breton Post

Andrew Tobin, Marine Atlantic’s manager of customer relationships, says nearly every company can make a business case regarding the importance of its product’s timely arrival to market.

Truckers line up to enter a Marine Atlantic ferry terminal. — TC Media file photo

[NORTH SYDNEY, NS] — A request that trucks carrying products susceptible to spoilage be given load priority has been made by the Retail Council of Canada, an entity which represents major grocers such as Dominion, Sobeys, Co-op Atlantic and Costco.

The council has said that, while it welcomes enhancements to the ferry service such as larger ferries and improved scheduling, Marine Atlantic could make things even better by helping fresh produce and meats get to the island in a more timely fashion.

The council’s Atlantic Canadian director Jim Cormier says even with these improvements there are still around 40 days a year that perishable food products are delayed by inclement weather conditions or unexpected issues with the fleet.

Andrew Tobin, Marine Atlantic’s manager of customer relationships, says nearly every company can make a business case regarding the importance of its product’s timely arrival to market.

He says commercial traffic does have options, including a premium booking service, which involves paying a higher rate for a guaranteed crossing, provided there is no unexpected interruption in the ferry service that day.

Another option could be for a truck with perishable goods aboard to trade places in the lineup with someone from the same company who happens to be further ahead in the lineup and is carrying a less fragile cargo.

Even without opting for either of those choices, Tobin said the amount of time commercial trucks typically spend waiting to board at North Sydney, N.S. for the less than seven-hour trek to Port aux Basques is not unreasonable.

Organizations: Marine Atlantic, NS & NL, Retail Council of Canada Dominion Co-op Atlantic Costco.The council

Geographic location: NORTH SYDNEY, Newfoundland, Cape Breton Port aux Basques

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