Irving Shipbuilding Stands Ready to Build Canada’s Next Generation Federal Combat Fleet

Halifax, NS, Oct 19, 2011: Today Irving Shipbuilding celebrated its successful selection to negotiate the right to build Canada’s future combat fleet under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). The company gathered late in the day to recognize its employees, community and government partners, and Canadians from coast to coast to coast for the outstanding support of Nova Scotia as a Canadian shipbuilding Centre of Excellence.

"This is tremendous news! On behalf of the men and women of Irving Shipbuilding, we are honoured to be chosen by Canada to build the Navy’s new combat vessel fleet for those who serve and we look forward to successful negotiations in the coming months,” said Jim Irving, CEO, Irving Shipbuilding. “We’d like to assure the Government of Canada, and all Canadians, that we will continue to devote our efforts to building quality vessels for our men and women in uniform and delivering the best value to Canadians for this important investment, one that will provide economic benefits across Canada.”

The company recognized the federal government for its leadership and vision in establishing the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy in June 2010. This Strategy has now resulted in the creation of two centres of excellence for the construction of large vessels to deliver sustained value, productivity and skilled employment to Canada. This long term commitment to shipbuilding by the federal government will avoid the boom/bust cycles seen in the past and will ensure sustained investments in the industry.

“Our employees are the best shipbuilders in Canada, and to them we’d like to extend our sincere gratitude for their support throughout this process,” said Steve Durrell, President, Irving Shipbuilding. “They continue to put their expertise and skills to work every day for our current customers, and we know they’ll look for every opportunity to make each vessel we construct even better than the last.”

The company, which has built over 80% of Canada’s current surface combat fleet and is presently working on refitting seven Halifax-class frigates for the Navy and building nine HERO Class Patrol Vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard, has invested $90 million over the past five years to be ready for its newest assignment.

“We’re fortunate to have an owner in the Irving family that saw the potential of our workers, our experience and our facilities and chose to invest heavily in infrastructure, technology and people since acquiring Halifax Shipyard in 1994,” added Durrell. “One of the most important ways in which they did that was by choosing to build their own vessels right here at Irving Shipbuilding.”

The year-long NSPS bid process took a great deal of human, financial and intellectual capital. It was also a time when the employees of Irving Shipbuilding learned how much support they, their families, and the entire industry have among the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and the entire nation.

“To every Nova Scotian and Canadian who put up a lawn sign, put a pin on the electronic map or sent us words of encouragement, we can’t thank you enough — the workers of Irving Shipbuilding are incredibly touched by your interest and your support,” said Jim Irving. “And to Nova Scotia and every member of the Ships Start Here partnership, you have made this a true community effort and demonstrated the power of a community with confidence, pride and a clear objective – thank you for your belief and your support.”

Negotiation of contracts with the Federal Government will take place over the next number of months, after which Irving Shipbuilding anticipates specific program details would be released in a joint communiqué between Canada and the shipyard.

“It’s a great day for shipbuilding in Canada. We’re proud to be a part of this heritage and we understand our responsibility in building this industry and the next generation of shipbuilders into the future” said Jim Irving. “Irving Shipbuilding is privileged to be poised to negotiate the combat vessel contracts, commencing with the Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels, and looks forward to delivering Canada’s next generation combat vessel fleet to those who serve.”