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Industry Minister visits local marine success story

Falmborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly brought Vic Fideli, the Minister of Economic Development to Hamilton today, to tour the facilities of Heddle Marine. Heddle began as a 2-person Startup 30 years ago and now employs more than 100 people.  

MPP Skelly and Minister Fideli (Centre) touring Heddle Marine in Hamilton

In 1987, Rick Heddle started a humble ship repair company that focused on topside repair work for local Hamilton harbour staples such as McKeil Marine’s harbour tugs and the Hamilton Energy tanker.

in 1989 Rick Heddle and Blair McKiel joined forces and purchased five identical rail car barges from the Detroit River area and converted them into the 3000T capacity HM1 dry dock still in use today.

A second drydock also made from salvaged barges was added in the early 1990’s

In 2012, Blair McKeil and Rick Heddle formed a partnership with Dennis Thorne and created Heddle Marine Service (NL) Inc. The new venture was the beginning of the first phase of aggressive expansion in the company’s history.

Heddle Marine Service (NL) Inc. quickly established itself as a leading ship repair company on the East Coast & in the Canadian Arctic. In 2015, Heddle was awarded multiple contracts related to the construction of ExxonMobil’s Hebron Gravity Based Structure. Heddle Marine Service (NL) Inc. grew to over 100 employees as a result of the Hebron project, which became the single largest project in the company’s history. Today, our East Coast division continues to service the offshore energy sector and perform repairs from Kugaaruk in Nunavut to Thunder Bay, Ontario and everywhere in between.

The second phase of expansion began in 2016, when Heddle purchased the Thunder Bay Shipyard facility. Strategically, the purchase of the Thunder Bay Shipyard was important to Heddle’s sustained growth in the Great Lakes market because the shipyard’s location allows Heddle to service existing customers in the Upper Great Lakes region and it will allow Heddle to gain potential new customers that operate exclusively in the Upper Great Lakes region.

In June of 2017, Heddle finalized a long-term lease for the Port Weller Dry Dock facility in St. Catharines, ON. The facility is strategically important because the facility will allow Heddle to realize its strategic vision of becoming the leading repair, maintenance and overhaul service provider on the Great Lakes.

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