YARMOUTH, Nova Scotia (AP) — The provincial government has completed a deal with a Maine-based company to run a ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, starting in May, officials said Thursday.

The deal struck with STM Quest Inc. calls for the provincial government to provide $10.5 million in startup costs and $1.5 million in annual marketing assistance for a total of $21 million over seven years, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele announced.

In return, STM Quest has committed to hire Nova Scotians and to purchase products and services from Nova Scotia businesses.

The sailing schedule will be May 1 to Oct. 31, departing Yarmouth daily at 9 a.m. and arriving in Portland at 5 p.m. The return trip would leave Portland at 8 p.m. and arrive in Yarmouth at 7 a.m.

“This is the news we have been waiting for,” said Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood. “The feeling here in Yarmouth and throughout the province is one of both relief and excitement.”

The ferry service was scrapped in December 2009 after the subsidies were cut.

There are still some details to be sorted out, including licenses and permits and a final joint-venture agreement between ST Marine and Quest Navigation.

“This is a big piece of the puzzle, but there are still a number of things that have to fall into place for a 2014 ferry service to happen,” Steele said. “We will continue to work with our partners to create the conditions needed for a viable and successful ferry between Yarmouth and Portland.”

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