A centre of excellence for Arctic technologies
Canadian shipbuilders have a long track record in building some of the world’s largest and most efficient icebreaking vessels. In comparison to other specialized shipbuilding nations such as those found in Europe, we have lower labour and operating costs giving us a competitive edge in the international specialized shipbuilding markets. With our expertise derived from tackling local environmental conditions, we have the opportunity to develop Canada as a center of excellence for modern icebreaking and ice-class vessels. These technologies can be leveraged for export in the naval, passenger and oil & gas markets.
Icebreaking Capacity: A Key Concern For The Economy and National Security
Arctic Sovereignty and Canada’s icebreaking capability remain crucial issues for CMISA. Without a new vessel capable of reliable high Arctic, long season operation, we are putting at risk our Arctic sovereignty and rights to navigate in and claim ownership of natural resources in the Arctic region.
Replacing Our High Arctic Capability
Today, Canada’s icebreaking fleet is in desperate need of renewal. Canada has only one vessel capable of high Arctic, long season operations which was built in 1967 (CCGS Louis St. Laurent). Originally due to be replaced as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, the replacement vessel (CCGS Diefenbaker) is facing major delays and cost increases; primarily due to a lack of shipbuilding capacity on the West coast as well as the prioritization of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Joint Support Ships. Without a new vessel capable of reliable high Arctic, long season operation, we are putting at risk our Arctic sovereignty and rights to navigate in and claim ownership of natural resources in the Arctic region.
Rejuvenating the inland fleet
The inland fleet of Canadian Coast Guard vessels is in major need of rejuvenation. While the Coast Guard has a planned Vessel Life Extension (VLE) program, it has not come quick enough and has been the subject of major delays. As raised by CMISA, this will have a dramatic impact on Canada’s ability to keep inland waterways clear for commercial traffic, essential for economic trade. In addition, the CMISA may be seeking alternatives to government icebreaking services, should Canada not be able to keep laneways open.