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New Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy


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B.C. shipbuilders seek share of $40 billion in federal funding
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West coast shipbuilders are vying to win British Columbia an equitable share of $40 billion promised by Ottawa to upgrade Canada’s marine fleet.

The federal Conservatives are expected to announce later this month how they intend to disperse funding for a massive upgrade of defence and security vessels — and put the nation’s marine industry on long-term, sustainable footing.

John Shaw, chair of the recently formed Pacific Coast Shipbuilders Association, said on Monday that “the west coast doesn’t want to be bypassed on the national shipbuilding policy.”

Last July, National Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced a fleet renewal plan to build more than 50 large vessels for the Department of National Defence and the Coast Guard, plus another 70 smaller vessels of less than 1,000 tonnes.
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Wait until the shipyards get the contracts and the first keels laid down...
infantryian said:
About time if you ask me.


One of my welding instructors was called in as a subject matter expert on some talks here in Victoria recently, and he gave us some hope in terms of what he heard from the government representatives. If even a small fraction of the work is done out here, it will be a big help. It's not just the shipyards that are hurting, but many of the smaller fab shops that are subcontracted to make components for the big companies have been hit hard this year too.
Believe it when I see it happen.

Hey, at least it won't be HSL/Irving getting all the money....that'd be a waste....
It seems to me that this, completely politically motivated (and the Liberals would do nothing very different), can only guarantee greatly added costs and slower delivery--and as for number of ships (usual copyright disclaimer)?

Federal shipbuilding plan will pit East against West: officials

The Harper government is expected to release its long-term shipbuilding strategy in the coming weeks, creating two national centres to handle billions of dollars worth of contracts.

The strategy could spark a high-stakes game pitting West Coast firms against East Coast companies in a winner-take-all contest, industry officials say.

Washington Marine Group on the West Coast and J.D. Irving on the East Coast will be asked to submit proposals to become the "centre of excellence" for building combat ships such as the Arctic patrol vessels and the fleet of vessels that will eventually replace the navy's Halifax-class frigates.

Another centre for larger non-combat ships — including the navy's proposed new supply vessels, the Joint Support Ships, as well as the coast guard's polar icebreaker — will also be created, industry representatives say.

Davie Yards in Quebec is the prime contender for that, in part, because it is considered the only shipbuilder in the country big enough to handle such work.

Work on the national shipbuilding strategy started almost a year ago when federal officials met behind closed doors with industry representatives in Gatineau, Que.

The government is not talking publicly about the contents of the new policy, although Defence Minister Peter MacKay has said it will soon be released.

But some shipbuilding officials around the country as well as defence industry representatives in Ottawa have been briefed. A memo to cabinet was also produced on the policy, they said...

The government's rationale for directing most large contracts to a few shipyards is that it will keep those companies continually at work and able to develop a skilled workforce. In the past the industry has gone through peak periods of work building a number of warships, only to have that dwindle as contracts end. The result then is layoffs and expertise eventually being lost.

It is still unclear exactly when the strategy will be announced.

"I've got nothing to announce at this time," MacKay's spokesman Dan Dugas said in an e-mail.

The $2.1-billion JSS project was to buy three vessels capable of resupplying warships at sea. But it was derailed in 2008 when the government determined that various bids did not meet the requirements of the new fleet and were too expensive.

Will we at least consider foreign designs?

Dutch moving forward on their version of Joint Support Ship

More on new Dutch version of Joint Support Ship

Joint Support Ship problems: No surprise (note Aussie offshore approach near end)

Foreign designs for new Navy ships?

If this is all that is in the "Strategy", then it is a dismal failure (and it took them a year to come up with that?).

It does not address the single most important factor in the current situation: The government!

The problem of the shipbuilding industry in canada constantly going from boom to bust is not that the shipyards can't retain their tradesmen and other specialist, it is that the government consistently orders in large batches, then let the fleet rust out before purchasing again.

I said it in another post: No trucking company that needs fifty trucks with a life span of 10 years buys them all in a shot: they buy  five new ones every year. The same should apply to ship's acquisition by the Federal government. That is where the strategy must start. And you must ensure the strategy will stick long term through various governing parties.

When you work with contracts, there are no sufficient guarantees for the industry. Everyone will recall Mr. Chrétiens' "I'll take my pen and say zero helicopters" with all the associated costs and consequences. You cannot have a shipbuilding strategy subject to that, because it would then not work out.

So a first step is for the government to derive a "base" fleet level for the military and coast guard and science vessels together: This is your starting figure that you then spread over the average lifetime. This gives you annual new constructions. You finally put those you foresee as required for the next 10 years into a Maritime Appropriation Bill that is voted in Parliament and secures the constructions and funding for all those years. After that, every five years, you present a new Maritime Appropriation Bill to cover the next five years following the end of the current bill. As can be seen, the next appropriation is always beginning five years after the adoption in Parliament. This makes for sufficient certainty and foreseeability for the industry, sufficient control for adaptation to circumstances, and as they are bills, a much harder, public and difficult matter to  change every time political masters fall out of favour.

Moreover, resorting to such bill would mean a parliamentary debate over the Navy and Coast Guard needs every five years that would keep both of them and their importance to the nation in the public eyes in much more positive ways than the current "contract" system, which only emphasizes the expansive nature of shipbuilding and political dealings that accompany such large contracts, to the expanse of the positive aspects of having a Navy and Coast Guard. In fact, it would mean that every five years, the Admiral and the Head of the Coast Guard would appear in a public committee of parliament and explain what they have done with the fleet in the last few years and why the next ships will be required in five to ten years. This would go a long way towards securing the public support for the fleets and their understanding of the ongoing need for such ships - something the current system fails abysmally to provide.

Oldgateboatdriver said:
The problem of the shipbuilding industry in canada constantly going from boom to bust is not that the shipyards can't retain their tradesmen and other specialist, it is that the government consistently orders in large batches, then let the fleet rust out before purchasing again.
Without having seen the strategy, obviously all is speculation - but I have seen some aspects of recent announcements that suggest that the plan is to rectify exactly this problem. The first thing is the government's reference to a $40B naval shipbuilding budget over the next 20 years; the second one is mention of replacing the Halifax class frigates over the next 20 years. What this suggests to me is that, far from buying "all in one shot", the plan is to get replacement surface combattants rolling off the blocks once every 18 months to 2 years once they get started. Presumably as soon as you're done building the whole class, you're ready to send the first ones into mid-life refit, and by the time you've refitted them all you're ready to replace the first of the class in the same manner.

By creating so-called "centres of excellence", you avoid the modularized approach that sees every shipyard in the country build one part of a frigate for a couple of years every 40. Maybe two centres is too much for a fleet Canada's size (I think the US only has five comparable large construction yards), but it's a step in the right direction. Presumably a long introduction span means that the navy is going to put less of a premium on class identicalness, but so what? The alternative seems to work for just about every other fleet in the world.
I agree this is all speculations, which is why I started my post with "If". But the newspaper article quoted is completely mum on spreading construction evenly.

If  this spreading you mention is part of the strategy, then good on the government. However, government policy is just that: policy. It can be changed easily every time you change ruling party. I still think proceeding by appropriation bills makes it easier for the industry to plan and act - not to mention the public support aspect I mentioned.

Also, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper came to power on a platform of democratic reform, better governance and respect for the Parliamentary institutions, such as when he submitted Afghan deployment extension to a vote of Parliament. Can you think of a better case to live up to the "no taxation without representation" call that lead to representative government than voting on $B40 of public funds? I can't. 
Wow, OGBD. THis is exactly what I keep saying. Of course, you say it more eloquently than I ever could . I especially like the political insight.
The unions will kill the shipyards long before the government can.  The Brits used to be pretty good at shipbuilding, but by the mid 70's the unions had destroyed the entire industry.
I will applaude it when the first CPF and 280 replacement actually comes off the slips. See I am not holding my breath.  :salute:
Oldgateboatdriver, you will be my Minister of the Navy when I am Ruler of Canada.
News items indicate the new ship-building policy will be announced tomorrow at the CANSEC 2010 conference.
This is an article from radiocanada.ca, didn't found any topic related to this on the forum. I also coudn't find a similar article on cbc.ca. 

Ottawa ferait une importante annonce liée à la construction navale. Le gouvernement Harper dévoilera sa stratégie navale dans le cadre du salon de l'armement à Ottawa. Des dizaines de milliards de dollars seraient investis dans l'achat de navires pour la marine et la garde côtière canadiennes.

Le ministre de la Défense Peter MacKay, la ministre des Pêches et des Océans Gail Shea ainsi que la ministre des Travaux publics Rona Ambrose participeront à l'événement.

Selon la Presse canadienne, le gouvernement fédéral commanderait 50 navires de grande dimension à différents fournisseurs. L'investissement est d'environ 40 milliards de dollars au cours des 30 prochaines années.

Trois grands chantiers navals du Québec, de la Nouvelle-Écosse et de la Colombie-Britannique se partageraient ces contrats. Des politiciens de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador s'attendent également à ce que leur province bénéficie des retombées de ces investissements.

Le dernier navire de guerre à prendre le large au Canada remonte à il y a 14 ans, selon le général Walter Natynczynk, chef d'état-major de la Défense.

Here translated with google

Ottawa would make a major announcement related to shipbuilding. The Harper government will unveil its naval strategy in the arms fair in Ottawa. Tens of billions are invested in the purchase of ships for the Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Gail Shea, Minister of Public Works Rona Ambrose will attend the event.

According to Canadian Press, the federal government would order 50 large vessels at different suppliers. The investment is about 40 billion dollars over the next 30 years.

Three major shipyards of Quebec, Nova Scotia and British Columbia will share these contracts. Politicians of Newfoundland and Labrador also expect that their province benefits from these investments.

The last warship to take off in Canada goes back 14 years ago, according to Gen. Walter Natynczynk, Chief of Staff of Defense.

Hope this will allow our navy to stay relevant for the coming years and the new challenges that are coming.  Is there anybody who as more info?