HALIFAX - The private operator of the Nova Scotia-Maine ferry says its move to a new port in the state is being held up by the U.S. government shutdown and the transition to a new governor.

The heavily subsidized ferry is set to move to Bar Harbor from Portland, Maine, after Bay Ferries struck a deal with the town last fall.

But Bay Ferries CEO Mark MacDonald says the town is still waiting for Maine's new governor to sign off on the transfer of the terminal property, while talks with United States Customs and Border Protection around its services and renovation work at Bar Harbor are on hold until the federal shutdown concludes.

MacDonald says he expects the lease agreement with the state will be concluded by the end of the month, and that talks with federal border officials will resume as quickly as possible once the shutdown ends.

He says Bay Ferries remains confident the final hurdles can be overcome in time to start the upcoming season.

Last week, Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said the province is considering footing the bill for U.S. border security agents in Maine.

The province has provided $32 million in subsidies since the ferry service resumed in 2015.