Good News for Thunder Bay as Shipbuilding Contract Awarded

Heddle Shipyard in Thunder Bay Drydock
Heddle Shipyard in Thunder Bay Drydock

THUNDER BAY – There could be more activity at the Heddle Shipyards in Thunder Bay again. The Government of Canada has awarded a performance-based contract to Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards for the full construction of two joint support ships (JSS). Valued at $2.4 billion (including taxes), this contract will allow the transition to full-rate construction of the first ship, the construction of early blocks for which began in June 2018, and then building the second ship.

Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), the Government of Canada is equipping members of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) with modern, built-in-Canada ships and equipment needed to carry out their important work now and into the future, while supporting and creating jobs right across the country.

Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, made the announcement, a move many say signals that the federal government will move to stimulate the economy with spending announcements.

The JSS will deliver fuel and other vital supplies to vessels at sea, offer medical and dental services and provide facilities for helicopter maintenance repair. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of operations at sea, allowing Canadian combat ships to remain at sea for significant periods of time without going to shore for resupply.

On June 9th, in a statement to media, Heddle said, “Seaspan Shipyards (Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd.) and Heddle Shipyards (Heddle Marine Service Inc.), the largest operator of shipyards on the Great Lakes, today announced they have entered into an exclusive teaming agreement for the Canadian Coast Guard’s future Polar Icebreaker, bringing Heddle and Ontario shipyards into the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). Under the terms of their agreement, if Seaspan Shipyards is awarded the Polar Icebreaker, Heddle will fabricate ship modules at its three Ontario shipyards, creating sustained, predictable and long-term work for Heddle in Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Thunder Bay.”

Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro says, “This contract does not necessarily mean work in Thunder Bay at this point. The teaming agreement with Seaspan, if the ice-breaker is awarded may lead to work in our shipyard, While this is a step in the right direction, work remains to be done on this file”.

Developing story… more to come.

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