HALIFAX – Nova Scotia is getting ready, and the province is helping workers and companies make the most of the huge opportunity offered by the federal shipbuilding contracts.
The province is hosting dozens of companies today, Jan. 25, to share an analysis of the activities needed to create, produce and deliver the arctic offshore patrol ships, polar icebreaker and research vessels. Duke University's Center on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness, in Durham, N.C., prepared the study, which shows how local companies can become suppliers to the shipbuilding programs in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
"The federal shipbuilding contracts are among the largest economic opportunities Nova Scotia has seen," said Leonard Preyra, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, in a news release.
This study will help local companies prepare for the shipbuilding work and also offers insight to help us attract international companies. The province is taking every possible step to ensure we're ready to make the most of the huge shipbuilding opportunity."
More than 100 Nova Scotia firms were named in the study as some of the potential suppliers for the work by Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan. It also shows ways to accelerate emerging technologies and support entrepreneurs to ensure Nova Scotia's shipbuilding tradition meets the demands of today's marine environment to help grow a strong shipbuilding and ocean technology industry for the long term.
Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems, in Dartmouth, offers world-leading sonar and undersea surveillance technologies. The company, named in the study, has taken advantage of the Productivity Investment Program and other support to improve its business, train employees and attract the best and brightest minds from the Atlantic region, an area with a wealth of leading universities and colleges.
"Over 75 per cent of our revenue comes from international customers and that means we have to be very competitive in the global market," said Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems president Ken Walker. "We differentiate ourselves with exceptional innovation and the highest-quality manufacturing, and Nova Scotia contributes to maintaining these essential success factors."
The company used $117,749 to train employees in areas such as marketing, effective management and lean manufacturing to increase productivity. New production equipment brought work to Nova Scotia from the firm's United Kingdom facility, and is helping it become more efficient and competitive.
Stevens Solutions and Design, a custom electronic and hardware design and manufacturing company, was also named in the study. The Mahone Bay company specializes in delivering technology solutions to defence and law enforcement agencies throughout North America.
"We have a great workforce that wants to stay and work here in Nova Scotia," said Stevens Solutions and Design president Barry Stevens. "The opportunities on the horizon are huge, and we've learned through supplier development sessions how important it is to network and partner with other companies so we can be in a better position to take advantage of these opportunities. This study is another tool that will help us get ready."
Duke University professor Gary Gereffi, the study's author, will participate in a panel discussion with other industry experts.
As Irving Shipbuilding gets closer to producing combat vessels, 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' time.
The study can be found online at www.gov.ns.ca/econ/publications .