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The MV Princess of Acadia, built in 1971, is being replaced. (Courtesy of Bay Ferries)

The ferry between Saint John, N.B. and Digby, N.S. is being replaced, federal and provincial government officials announced on Monday.

The federally-owned MV Princess of Acadia ferry is being retired after 42 years of service.

"A replacement vessel will ensure safe, reliable and efficient operation of this ferry service while creating jobs and supporting the local economy," Minister of National Defence and MP for Central Nova Scotia Peter MacKay said in a statement.

The federal government has set aside $60 million for a replacement vessel.

It may not be a new ferry, but it will be newer, more efficient and will ensure continuous service for decades to come, officials said.

It will also be equipped with new amenities and features, they said.

A world-wide procurement process will be launched soon.

The current ferry operates year-round with a total capacity for 155 cars and 33 tractor trailers.

It is operated by Bay Ferries Ltd.

Transport Canada owns both ferry terminals.

Saint John MP Rodney Weston and West Nova MP Greg Kerr also attended the announcement at Bay Ferries in Digby.