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Author Topic: Port Weller Dry Docks lands contract with Netherlands-based shipbuilder Peters Kampen  (Read 3464 times)
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Jeff Thoreson
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« on: October 03, 2005, 07:19:20 pm »

From the St. Catherines Standard on Saturday:

Port Weller eyes steady future
$100-million order provides work for 250

Local News - Saturday, October 01, 2005 @ 01:00

Two contracts worth $100 million for Port Weller Dry Docks herald a promising new direction for the 59-year-old facility, says its top manager.

“The people that are coming back to work are looking forward to a steady future,” said Alan Thoms, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering, the shipyard’s parent company.

“This means a whole new change in direction for the shipyard,” Thoms said Friday. “This is a multi-purpose, ocean-going cargo freighter for export, not for the domestic market, which has been slow. “We see this as a start for a complete new product line for us that will hopefully continue for the next two or three years.”

He confirmed details of deal revealed by a marine industry source in The Standard Friday, adding it means two years work for 250 shipbuilders, probably beginning the middle of this month.

The contracts are part of a strategic alliance between CSE and Peters Kampen Shipyards of the Netherlands.

The work entails the fabrication in St. Catharines of two 6500 Jumbo 1A Class vessels, the outer hulls of two others and an option to build four more of the vessels.

The ships have been ordered by Carisbrooke Shipping of the United Kingdom for use “on the marine highways of the European coast to move steel products, paper and other cargo,” said Willem Wester, owner of Carisbrooke, in a news release Friday.

“It’s been a long slog, but with the help of the Dutch and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., we pulled it off,” said Thoms. “Hopefully, this is only the start of many more things.

Port Weller Dry Docks has struggled in recent years with its workforce in frequent layoff mode.

Most recently, workers have been laid off for about a month, following some repair work and completion this summer of a $30-million contract to build a forebody on the Jean Parisien, a Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader that was renamed Assiniboine. There are about 30 full-time staff still working at the yard.

The new design to be built in St. Catharines is engineered by Peters Kampen. It’s a multi-purpose design widely used throughout Europe and around the world to run cargo over short distances.

In a news release, Geert van Voorn, managing director of Peters Kampen, said his company studied the market in North America with the help of the Seaway for two years. It saw “enormous opportunity in short-sea shipping and feeder vessels here in North America.”

“This alliance with CSE will help both organizations capitalize on that opportunity,” said the release.

“This really came about as a result of the Seaway’s Highway H2O initiative,” added Thoms.

Highway H2O is a public awareness and marketing initiative of the Seaway intended to brand the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system — including its ports and infrastructure — with a strong logo and identity.

The initiative seeks to make shippers aware of the under-utilized St. Lawrence and Great Lakes waterways as alternatives to road and rail transport.

Executives of the Dutch company were in Canada about 18 months ago and met with the Seaway and CSE officials including Charlie Payne, CSE’s vice-president of marketing, he said.

“We’d been actively partnering since then,” said Thoms.

Aldert van Nieuwkoop, director of market development for the Seaway, was also instrumental in establishing the strategic alliance between CS&E and Peters Kampen, added Thoms.

“Port Weller Dry Docks has capacity, they’re good shipbuilders, but they’ve never built these kinds of ships,” said van Nieuwkoop. “‘With the technology from Holland and modern design of Peters Kampen, it’s a good combination.

He said the St. Catharines contracts are also in the interest of the Seaway as the ships are being built for Carisbrooke Shipping, which operates in the Great Lakes.

“It is likely we will see these new vessels also come here in the Great Lakes carrying new and other cargoes we want to capture,” said van Nieuwkoop.

St. Catharines Mayor Tim Rigby said the announcement was “good news.”

“When you have 250 people that actually have positions ... they’ll be earning a good income and it bodes well for the future of the marine industry here in St. Catharines,” said Rigby.

“Maybe by the time they complete this work, our shipping industry will be needing hulls from them as well.”

The last new ship built at Port Weller was about a decade ago — the Jiimaan ferry for the provincial government.

An official of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 680, which represents many of the shipbuilders, could not be reached for comment Friday.
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Michel Gosselin
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2005, 09:16:32 pm »

I can't wait to see these new ships being build & launched.I've never seen new ships being build so it will great & interesting. yesterday port weller dry docks two cranes were moving.  :-D
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Phil English
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2005, 11:49:28 am »

Tradewinds reports that the first two ships are for Dutch owner J. Boomsma. Carisbrooke will take the following two, plus a futher four options which will be declared when financing is in place.

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