Davie, Canada in talks to add more icebreakers

(OTTAWA, Ontario) — The government of Canada has announced that it will begin negotiations with Chantier Davie of Levis, Quebec, toward an umbrella agreement to become the third strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). Pending successful negotiations, an agreement is expected to be in place by the end of 2022.

The NSS is a long-term, multibillion-dollar program to renew the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy fleets, creating good middle-class jobs across the country while revitalizing Canada’s marine industry.

Chantier Davie submitted a proposal as part of the request for proposal process for the selection of a third NSS shipyard. This included a third-party assessment of the shipyard’s infrastructure; submission and evaluation of a formal proposal from the shipyard; and a due diligence process to ensure the shipyard is financially capable of performing the work and making any necessary upgrades to its infrastructure.

The assessment was similar to the process previously undertaken in 2011 to select Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards as strategic partners under the NSS.

Pending successful negotiation of an umbrella agreement, Chantier Davie will build one of two polar icebreakers and six program icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard. Contracts for each project will be negotiated with the shipyard only after the signature of an umbrella agreement.

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, Canada’s largest icebreaker, arrives at Davie Shipbuilding in April for three months of refit work. Chantier Davie photo

Quick facts

• On May 22, 2019, the government of Canada announced its intention to add a third Canadian shipyard as a partner under the NSS, and on Aug. 2, 2019, Canada launched the competitive process to select the new shipyard.
• In May 2021, the government of Canada announced it was moving forward with the construction of two polar icebreakers under the NSS. Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver, British Columbia, will build one, while the other will be built at Chantier Davie, pending the successful completion of the ongoing selection process.
• On July 14, 2021, the government of Canada announced it had received Chantier Davie’s supporting materials to become the third shipyard under the NSS.

Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are essential to Canada’s economy, supporting year-round marine trade in eastern Canada, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. They provide critical icebreaking services to ensure commercial ships have access to Canadian ports during the winter, and they support summer resupply activities to Canada’s Arctic communities and their industries. They are also important platforms for search and rescue and environmental response operations.

By Rich Miller