Canada's Largest Shipyard Closes
 
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Canada's Largest Shipyard Closes

      7/20/2003

Canada's Largest Shipyard Closes

Competition from subsidized shipbuilders around the world and a lack of orders at home has sunk Canada's largest shipyard. Saint John Shipbuilding, which had been idle for three years as its owners lobbied the federal government for a national shipbuilding policy, was formally closed at the end of June. The move will force 600 employees, many of whom participated in the $6.2B patrol frigate project for the Canadian Navy, to look for other jobs. It also leaves Canada with only one shipyard, located in Levis (Quebec), capable of building ships to replace the aging fleet of the Canadian Navy.

The federal government and shipyard owners have offered to contribute a combined total of as much as $110-million in the search for alternative uses for the massive yards. The facility employed more than 3,000 people in the early 1990s at the height of the construction project during which 12 frigates were produced. After the frigate project was completed in 1996 the Saint John yard reduced its workforce to about 600 people and worked on container ships and an offshore petroleum module. But the order book was empty after the container vessel was completed in April 2000.

It was said that the shipyard, which received no direct government assistance, could not compete with European builders who receive subsidies to build vessels. In addition, Canadian shipyards are banned by a U.S. statute from selling ships to the American shipping lines and the Canadian government hasn't indicated that it will be making any major purchases for the Navy or the Coast Guard.


The Globe and Mail  


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