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Ships could start hereby Adam Jacobs
Peter Kinley, president and CEO of Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering, and Premier Darrell Dexter have a discussion following the premier’s visit to Lunenburg last week.
LUNENBURG — There is a simple reason why Irving should bring subcontracts of its national shipbuilding contract to Lunenburg.
“Simply put, we get things done,” said Peter Kinley, president and CEO of Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering.
Mr. Kinley was speaking to the media shortly after Premier Darrell Dexter announced the results of Duke University’s (Durham, North Carolina) Centre on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness study, which suggests Nova Scotia should be at the centre of Canada’s shipbuilding future. The report cost $135,000.
The announcement was made on January 24 at the Lunenburg Foundry’s machine shop, which overlooks Lunenburg’s picturesque front harbour and the idled Bluenose II.
“Nova Scotia is built to build ships, and this study confirms that,” said Premier Dexter. “Nova Scotians are ready to turn the corner toward prosperity, and this is another tool to help build the supply chain and the workforce that will get us ready for the opportunity of a generation.”
More than 100 Nova Scotia firms were named in the study as some of the potential suppliers for the work Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan will do. One of those companies was the foundry, known as one of Atlantic Canada’s leading ship repair and marine industrial manufacturing firms.
“For over a century, Lunenburg Foundry has adapted to changing markets and opportunities, and we’ll continue to change as these new shipbuilding projects take shape and the industry evolves,” Mr. Kinley said. “Our high-quality products and services are recognized around the world, and we welcome this report that notes our strengths and shows where we might fit in the extensive global shipbuilding value chain.”
Mr. Kinley admits his company has an eye on attaining subcontracts. He said work has already begun to make his firm more attractive to Irving.
“We’ve done a lot of work in our engineering department to improve all the facets of our shipyard. Some of our particular strengths are in the propulsion side of things,” he said, “propellers and underwater gear. We’re ready, willing and able to participate as we can.”
How much more the foundry would have to grow depends on the work that could come its way.
“Size, scope of the work, these are areas where we have to invest in getting a bigger production capacity,” he added. “We’ve got some highly qualified people now and we can meet the standards for international shipbuilding right now. However, it is an issue of scale. There would have to be an upgrade in the number of folks we have here.”
But he’s not concerned about being perceived as too small to participate.
“These boats are built of many thousands, perhaps millions of pieces,” he said. “We probably won’t be building entire hulls, but we can get involved in the supply chain. What the study focuses on is for us to be internationally competitive.”
The study includes ways to accelerate emerging technologies and support entrepreneurs to ensure Nova Scotia’s tradition of shipbuilding meets the demands of today’s marine environment. The study also pinpoints global companies the province can attract to help grow a strong shipbuilding and ocean technology industry for the long term.
The study makes recommendations for industry and government in three main areas to help increase Nova Scotia’s participation in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy:
— supporting Nova Scotia companies,
— growing technology and innovation opportunities, and
— building relationships and planning for the future.
The province has agreed to advance the recommendations, some of which are already under way, including:
— establishing the major initiative and projects office to co-ordinate cross-government activities in support of large projects such as shipbuilding,
— supporting local companies to participate in national and international trade shows and industry seminars to build relationships, and
— working with the Ships Start Here partnership to explore options to centralize accurate information on procurement, projects, and certification and regulatory requirements.
“Nova Scotia’s companies are well positioned across the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy value chains that Duke evaluated, particularly for the Canadian icebreaker and the science vessels,” said Duke University’s Centre on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness director Gary Gereffi. “This study offers a number of opportunities for Nova Scotia to develop a competitive shipbuilding sector now and for the future.”
As Irving Shipbuilding gets closer to the production of the combat vessels, which make up about half of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, the province will explore a global value chain study of those ships.
The $25 billion federal shipbuilding contracts will provide work for the next 30 years and 11,500 direct and indirect jobs in Nova Scotia when the project hits its stride in a few years.
The study can be found on-line at http://www.gov.ns.ca/econ/publications.
posted on 1/30/13
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