Premier Doug Ford, Economic Development Minister Vic Fideli, Finance Minister Rod Philipps and Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly were on hand in Hamilton today to congratulate Heddle Shipyards on their new long-term agreement with Vancouver-based shipyard Seaspan to fabricate Ontario-made ship components under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Joint Support Ship (JSS) project will deliver two new ships, as outlined in Strong, Secured, Engaged, Canada’s defence policy. These Joint Support Ships are being built for the RCN under the National Shipbuilding Strategy and will replace the auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessels that reached the end of their operational lives..
“I want to congratulate Heddle Shipyards on this long-term agreement, as it cements Ontario’s position as one of the best places in the country for major manufacturers to compete, succeed, and grow,” said Premier Ford. “This historic partnership with Seaspan will create highly skilled, well-paying jobs in communities across the province, contribute to the construction of quality, Ontario-made components for these ships, and reinforce Hamilton’s status as a critical transportation hub in the province.”
Shipbuilding in Canada has tended to be a closed shop with contracts being sole-sourced in many cases, especially to Quebec based shipbuilders. Shaun Padulo, President of Heddle Shipyards, credited Premier Ford with advocating for the Ontario shipbuilding industry which has struggled in past.
Over the next decade, Heddle Shipyards will be the primary supplier for ladders, gratings and handrails for the JSS 1 (currently under construction), JSS 2, and an Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel. These components will be manufactured at their facilities in Hamilton, St. Catharine’s, and Thunder Bay, creating jobs across Ontario’s advanced manufacturing supply chain. These projects will generate tens of millions of dollars in economic activity in Ontario, employ at least 50 workers, and create the potential for additional opportunities, such as supplying larger ship modules in the future.
Seaspan and Heddle have also partnered to bid on the construction of the Polar Icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. If won, Heddle will support the construction through its modular fabrication program.
“The contract signed by Heddle Shipyards is a tremendous opportunity for workers in Hamilton and the surrounding region,” said Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Skelly. “It will also help revitalize the shipbuilding industry in Ontario.”