Shipbuilding strategy; Session outlines opportunities for local businesses

Diane Crocker
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Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Peter Penashue was in the city Tuesday, April 10, 2012 speaking to representatives of local businesses taking part in a development information session on the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan.

CORNER BROOK — A federal minister visited Corner Brook on Tuesday to encourage local businesses to get involved in the shipbuilding strategy to renew Canada’s naval and coast guard fleets.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue, who is also the regional minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, spoke at an Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan supplier development session at the Glynmill Inn.

The session was organized by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to ensure businesses fully understand the process and the requirements to access opportunities attached to the 20- to 30-year initiative to renew the fleets.

“As regional minister for Newfoundland and Labrador it is encouraging to see so many small- and medium-sized enterprises are interested in getting involved,” Penashue told those gathered.

He said the $33-billion shipbuilding plan was launched in February and is geared to providing businesses with the information and tools they need to take advantage of the shipbuilding activity that will take place in Halifax, N.S.

Penashue said at the end of the session the participants would understand the processes, and have the information to know what they need to do to prepare to be involved. He said this includes certification, processing improvements, marketing and technology acquisition.


Skilled labour force

Penashue said the spinoffs of the shipbuilding activity in Halifax will be felt in communities all over the Atlantic region and businesses in this province already have the state of the art infrastructure and skilled labour force to participate.

“Together these qualities give Newfoundland and Labrador a strategic advantage in realizing the economic opportunities that will come from this shipbuilding activity,” Penashue said.

After addressing the group, Penashue said the strategy is there to encourage and be supportive to the industries that are looking to make headway into the shipbuilding contracts.

“It’s open to any business, but obviously this is a shipbuilding contract and the seminar is explaining just exactly what those are and what those opportunities will be, and for those companies that are interested in exploring those options this is the place to be,” he said.

Penashue said this also includes educational institutions that will be able to offer training for potential workers.

Finding out how College of the North Atlantic can play a role in the shipbuilding is what brought Denis Dumont to the session.

“I usually attend these information sessions just to get an idea of what’s going on in the industry. What are the needs that are being looked at? Is there any need for training,” said Dumont, a business development officer.

He was also interested in finding out if there is any money available for funding programs or hiring employees to feed into the supply chain.

Dumont said there were some direct and indirect ways of connecting into the supply chain discussed that interested him.

“There was some things discussed where the college can definitely either be there in a research capacity or be there with training individuals to meet the demand for people to work on these vessels.”

Glen Sullivan is in the fabrication business and he sees lots of potential for his company to get involved as a supplier.

“Because I’m a fabricator and they’re going to be fabricating ships, so everything that’s made of steel will be fabricated, so any of those things I could possibly fit into what the requirements are,” said the general manager of A.H.M. Fabricators

Sullivan said his company already has a lot of the qualifications and certifications  the shipbuilders will be looking for.

“And this is a long-term project ... so it would be a good fit for us to be in the supply chain, especially if we can get in early.”

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Corner Brook, Canada Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    April 11, 2012 - 14:59

    Don't worry it is not just you, I would say he is by far the weakest representative that this province has had in the federal cabinet in recent memory, I will even include Peter McKay who wasn't even from this province and that is saying something!

  • David
    April 11, 2012 - 11:38

    It all started with Joey's "Burn your boats!".....And here we are, 65 years later, hoping beyond hope that the fishery that we were so anxious to abandon one day revives, the mills of the great "industrialization" dream in tatters all across the province, and begging for whatever scraps are left from an enormous government dole program to build...get Ya gotta laugh, or you'd cry.

  • tall
    April 11, 2012 - 09:19

    I don't know if it's just me, but I can't seem to take anything that Mr. Penashue says very seriously !!!!!