Industry News


Posted on Sep 29, 2016

Seaspan Invests in the Next Generation of Canadian Shipbuilding
The National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) is designed to deliver ships for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) through a long-term, predictable program of work – generating employment and stimulating economic activity across Canada.

As the NSS continues to grow, it will strengthen Canada’s economy and maritime security, enhance its ability to protect marine habitat and the environment, enable Canada to promote its sovereign interests, and provide valuable careers to thousands of Canadians for the next 30 years.

For its part, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards (VSY) has made multi-year, multi-million dollar investments through the British Columbia Institute of Technology to support Aboriginals in trades; through Camosun College to support women in trades; and throughthe Canadian Welding Association Foundation for both new welding equipment and professional development for teachers of high school students.

The company also runs its own Intern and Trades Apprenticeship programs. Over the past two years, almost 60 Interns have benefited from work terms at Seaspan, and half of its 2016 cohort of Apprentices originate from Aboriginal communities across the Lower Mainland.

Although still in its early days, Seaspan’s commitment to developing a domestic supply chain is already delivering strong results for Canadians across the country. To date, the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars through a growing number of Canadian suppliers, and spending projections are upwards of $1.3 billion to Canadian industries by the end of the first 10 years of the NSS.

Federal visits to VSY
In addition to ongoing local support provided by North Vancouver's Member of Parliament, Jonathan Wilkinson, the shipyard was visited by federal ministers directly responsible for the success of the NSS. The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, Dominic LeBlanc, accompanied by Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner Jody Thomas, toured VSY in August. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, also toured VSY recently. Both Ministers exhibited keen interest in the company's shipbuilding strategy and came to see, first hand, how the manufacturing facility is optimizing production efficiencies.

The NSS program is effectively managed through a Canada-VSY joint governance infrastructure with considerable oversight by several federal government departments. In September, Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyard was the location for the monthly meeting of one of the NSS governance bodies – the Portfolio Management Committee – comprised of Directors General from DND, PSPC, FOCC and ISED and VSY Vice Presidents.

Earlier in the month, DND’s Associate Deputy Minister, John Turner, visited VSY to meet with Seaspan Shipyards President, Brian Carter with an expressed interest to better understand Seaspan’s shipbuilding strategy and witness the progress being made on the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (OFSV) program.

Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel
All 37 blocks of the first OFSV are currently under construction, 13 blocks of the second vessel are currently underway, and the final OFSV is slated to begin construction before the end of 2016. There are 465 tradesmen and women working in the yard across two shifts. Some 365 Engineers, Program Managers, Procurement Specialists, Planners, Estimators, Quality Control and Performance Improvement Professionals are working in support of those tradespeople, and are also actively engaged on the next NSS programs – the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) and Joint Support Ships (JSS).

The Ship Repair Business
Seaspan’s ship repair business at its Victoria Shipyards (VSL) has also been very active. Now, with the successful completion of refit and upgrades to five of the Royal Canadian Navy’s frigates, VSL is focused on putting the RCN’s submarines back to sea; is preparing to receive the first of two New Zealand Navy’s ANZAC frigates in 2017 for upgrades and refit; continues its regular cruise ship maintenance and repair work; and actively supports companies pursuing the prime contractor role for the in-service support contract for the new Arctic Offshiore Patrol Vessels and JSS. VSL plays a critical role in Seaspan’s delivery of vessels under the NSS; it is here that the final outfitting, as well as the test and trials phases of its NSS work will take place. For that reason, the company supports the planned redevelopment of the government-owned Esquimalt Graving Dock (EGD) by Public Services and Procurement Canada. VSL occupies about 80% of the EGD footprint, and has invested significantly in capital infrastructure improvements to the facility over the past 20 years – currently generating about 90% of its revenue.

Supplier Outreach at DEFSEC in Halifax
Seaspan’s recent participation in the DEFSEC Atlantic 2016 tradeshow and conference in Halifax in early September allowed company representatives to meet with a high number of potential suppliers as the NSS program of work matures. Seaspan continues to build business relationships with Atlantic Canadian businesses. For example, Genoa Design International in St. John’s Newfoundland is doing 3-D design work on the OFSV program. Hawboldt Industries in Chester, Nova Scotia, is supplying trawl deck equipment for the OFSV. While in Halifax, Seaspan held a standalone Industry Day Event attended by more than 70 companies interested in doing business on the OOSV and JSS programs. As part of its supplier outreach efforts, Seaspan will participate in the STIQ Supplier Day in Montreal (October) and the Western Innovation Forum in Vancouver (November).

Seaspan representatives say the company is already applying lessons learned to its engineering, planning, program management and production practices to manage risk, contain costs and meet production schedules. Not only is progress at Seaspan well underway, it is evident the NSS program is working well here, putting Canadians to work in a re-emerging industry.