Nova Scotia

Halifax Shipyard competitor gets boost

The Quebec government is stepping in to help one of the shipyards competing with Halifax for federal shipbuilding contracts worth billions of dollars.
Halifax Shipyards is competing for federal shipbuilding contracts worth billions. (CBC)

The Quebec government is stepping in to help one of the shipyards competing with Halifax for federal shipbuilding contracts worth billions of dollars.

Davie Yards in Quebec is insolvent and under court protection from creditors. An Italian company, Fincantieri, is set to buy a majority interest, though. When that's done, the Quebec government plans to give Fincantieri an untendered contract to build twin ferries.

Having the government ferries job will allow Davie to comply with and meet the July 7 deadline for the federal bid, Norman MacMillan, Quebec's associate transportation minister, said Wednesday.

The Public Works Department is accepting bids only from shipyards that can cover all their debts. Insolvent companies will be banned.

Other bidders include Seaspan of Vancouver and Seaway Marine of St. Catherines, Ont.

One contract is for $25 billion and the other is for $10 billion. Only two shipyards can win a generation's worth of jobs building combat ships and other vessels.

This forces shipyards to compete against each other and also creates political tensions.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter travelled to Ottawa last month to lobby on behalf of the Irving-owned shipyard in Halifax. He said getting the big contract would be like winning the Olympics every year for 30 years.

Nova Scotia is supporting the Irving bid with a $20-million loan to upgrade equipment at the Halifax drydock.

In B.C., the shipyard is asking the provincial government for assistance worth $75 million.

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