Hamilton’s Heddle Shipyards recently signed a 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..
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.
In the Ontario Legislature Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly said the deal marks the beginning of a new chapter in shipbuilding in Ontario.
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.