09/04/2013 02:49 EDT | Updated 11/04/2013 05:12 EST

Update on Nova Scotia ferry service to come in on-air radio interview: minister

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government will give an update Thursday on the state of negotiations with the company chosen to re-establish the ferry link from Yarmouth to Maine.

Economic Development Minister Graham Steele said he will be in Yarmouth to make an announcement during an on-air interview with a local radio station.

Steele wouldn't reveal any details of the announcement, saying only that he had promised last month to provide an update on whether the province would do business with STM Quest Inc. or move on to another bidder.

"I've tried to lay out the process very precisely that at this point we'd know whether this was the right company or not. So I'm going to tell people what path that we're on."

STM Quest — a joint venture between U.S.-based companies ST Marine Ltd. and Quest Navigation — was selected last month to set up and run the service between Yarmouth and Portland.

The province received three bids. The others were from Balearia Caribbean and P&O Ferries.

Steele said he was taking the unusual step of announcing the update on the radio because he feels people in the region are owed an explanation of where the government is going.

"Radio is more democratic in the sense that it is more widely available to people ... they can all hear it at the same time," he said.

Political officials and business leaders have complained the loss of the ferry has led to job losses and has been a hammer blow to the local economy.

The international ferry link was mothballed in December 2009 after the NDP government cut its subsidies, which provoked sharp criticism in southwestern Nova Scotia.

The province is now offering $21 million over seven years to restart the service.