December 19, 2004

Rochester set to bid on ferry

Based on reports in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and other local media, it looks like the City of Rochester, N.Y., will bid to acquire the high speed ferry previously operated by CATS (Canadian American Transportation Systems) between Rochester and Toronto.

On Friday, a Federal judge decided the Australian-built ship would be auctioned on February 28, 2005 to satisfy creditors.

Those creditors include the Australian Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC), the Australian Government's export credit guarantee unit. In a surprising twist. EFIC has now reportedly said it will loan Rochester up to $40 million to buy the vessel.

Because the vessel is not U.S.-built it cannot operate on a U.S. domestic-to-domestic trade. That means that, apart from Rochester, the only bidders at the upcoming auction would likely be international operators. EFIC would rather see any international operator in need of a ferry of this type go to an Australian yard for another newbuilding!

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that under a new plan unveiled by Mayor William A. Johnson the city would create a nonprofit corporation to own and operate the ferry service. That plan will be voted in by the City Council Tuesday evening.

We'll have more detailed coverage of this story in the next issue of FERRIES & FAST CRAFT NEWS!


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