#9 Irving Shipbuilding

2014 Rank: #9


Melting polar ice is increasingly opening shipping lanes in Canada’s north. If Canada wants to maintain its sovereignty in the area, which many countries, including the United States, regard as international waters, it will need the kit to do it. These trends are boosting the importance of Irving Shipbuilding, a perennial CDR Top Ten contender, which is currently preparing to build the first of several Arctic Offshore Patrol ships to help accomplish the task.

That mandate stems from the 2011 selection of Irving Shipbuilding to build up to 23 combat vessels that are part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a projected $29.3 billion initiative. This, coupled with the strategic location of the company’s Halifax Shipyards, which service Canada’s Eastern fleet, make Irving one of Canada’s most important defence contactors. According to Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding, rejuvenation of the Royal Canadian Navy, will the most intensive and comprehensive period of fleet modernization and renewal in peacetime history.

To fulfill that mandate, Irving is in the final stretch its $340 million Halifax Shipyard modernization, which the company claims will include the largest single building for constructing ships in North America.  Not surprisingly the first ship on its agenda is an Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship vessel, for which Irving, is getting ready to cut steel on September 1st. In fact the first plates were processed in Sault Ste Marie earlier this year and have already arrived in Halifax.  

Irving Shipbuilding is also laying the groundwork to begin construction on a new generation of surface combatants, while simultaneously fulfilling a mandate to extend the life of seven of Canada’s existing Halifax Class frigates (the balance are being worked on by Seaspan on Canada’s west coast). Irving, which employs nearly 1,200 staff and feeds a vast network of suppliers throughout Atlantic Canada, is thus also a disproportionately important player in a region, whose economy continues to underperform.

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