Jonathan Whitworth, CEO of Seaspan Marine Corporation, says Seaspan is "both pleased and thankful" for the level of support it has received for its bid to win one of two work packages offered in Canada's $35-billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). Today British Columbia's Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, Pat Bell, said that the Seaspan bid is being supported by a $40-million package from the Province of British Columbia. In addition, BC Ferries is pledging $20 million toward building the capacity of B.C.'s ship repair and maintenance industry, adding to Seaspan and the province's support.
The NSPS is intended to establish a long-term strategic relationship between the federal government and two Canadian shipyards to construct repair, refit and maintain large combat and non-combat vessels over the next 30 years. The NSPS evaluation criteria requests bidders to demonstrate support from partners, and in particular that the investments made will grow the broader shipbuilding and marine sector in Canada.
"As promised, our government is helping Seaspan submit the strongest possible bid and this investment focuses on job-creation," said Bell. "We are investing in our human capital by supporting the creation of marine industry jobs for years to come."
If Seaspan's bid is successful, the province proposes to offer enhanced training or other labor tax credits for eligible marine industry employers in B.C. The proposed tax support would provide up to an estimated $35 million in benefits to Seaspan over the 30-year life of the shipbuilding program.
The Province will also invest $5 million to support the productivity and long-term viability of the broader marine sector should Seaspan win a federal contract.
"Seaspan is both pleased and thankful of the level of support it's received," said Jonathan Whitworth, Seaspan CEO. "We're in it to win it and we're certainly not alone. This type of support for the future of the B.C. shipbuilding industry will only add to an already stellar bid. I am confident we've submitted a winning bid, and we couldn't have done it without the backing of our provincial and municipal governments, as well as the multitude of organizations, such as BC Ferries, who have provided encouragement and assistance throughout the process."
Over recent months Seaspan has been working closely with interested parties including BC Ferries, the Township of Esquimalt and the District of North Vancouver to ensure that the many partners that can benefit from jobs and investment related to the bid are engaged to maximize Seaspan's chance of winning based on selection criteria set by the federal government.
"Nothing will help B.C.'s marine sector better than by securing a long-term federal shipbuilding contract," said David Hahn, president and CEO of BC Ferries. "A strong shipbuilding and repair sector in B.C. is important for us to receive competitive pricing as we maintain and upgrade our fleet in the future."
Meyers Norris Penny LLP, a consulting firm commissioned by Seaspan, has estimated that a winning bid could create thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to the B.C. economy.
July 25, 2011