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Smooth Sailing for Chantier Davie Modernization Project

April 14, 2024

By Paul-Robert Raymond, Le Soleil

Since the announcement by the federal government in April 2023 to include Chantier Davie in the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), there has been speculation about whether the modernization of the facilities is experiencing delays or not. According to management at the Lévis-based company, the project is on schedule, without rushing through any stages.

“It’s worth noting that funding was announced on the same day Davie was included in the NSS. We’re doing things in the right order and with respect for public funds. Our selection process for a contractor is progressing smoothly. It’s essential to highlight that our plan prioritizes meeting the needs of our primary client, the Government of Canada,” explained Pascale Tabet, Vice-President of Shipyard Upgrade and Integration, via e-mail.

“Davie is taking care to align its expansion project with upcoming contracts from the Government of Canada. This will allow for a gradual increase of the workforce and prevent short-term infrastructure inactivity.” —Pascale Tabet, Vice-President, Shipyard Upgrade and Integration at Davie

“Our goal is to synchronize the completion of our expansion project with the start of construction of the icebreakers and ferries. This deliberate approach reflects Davie’s commitment to efficiency and respect for public funds,” adds Ms. Tabet. Representatives from the shipyard explain that the call for proposals for the modernization was issued at the end of 2023. Submission of proposals by candidates is scheduled for this summer, in July 2024. Without naming the potential candidates, they are described by Ms. Tabet as “major players in the construction and civil engineering industry.”


She adds that since the April 2023 announcement, the shipyard has been busy: “Davie has completed various studies, including assessments of buildings, environmental studies focusing on wildlife and flora, and geotechnical evaluations. Currently, we are evaluating proposals received for some of the long-lead production equipment for which Davie issued the call for proposals,” she says.

Some elements of the shipyard were demolished, such as the two cranes and the tunnel on which they moved. These cranes were used to lift materials for shipbuilding and repair. The shipyard had assessed that the cranes had exceeded their useful lifespan. In addition to the crane demolition, most of the existing buildings will be renovated and equipped for future contracts, according to shipyard management. Davie is relying on a financial support of $519 million from the Québec government for its expansion project, totalling $840 million.

“At Davie, our approach is always to do things right. Looking ahead, our infrastructure expansion project will make Lévis and the greater Québec region one of the leading global hubs for shipbuilding operations in the Arctic,” concludes Ms. Tabet.

Contribution from Helsinki Shipyard

Just over two weeks ago, Davie was awarded a $19 million contract to design six vessels for Canada’s future icebreakers. Will Davie make use of resources from the Helsinki Shipyard, which it recently acquired from Russian interests? Marcel Poulin, Davie’s Director of External Affairs and Industrial Participation, offers reassurance regarding the potential involvement of Finnish resources in this project. “The acquisition of Helsinki Shipyard will make it possible to leverage Finland’s unique expertise to transfer Helsinki’s specialized knowledge in icebreaker design and construction to Davie, with the aim of accelerating the NSS work at the Lévis shipyard,” he states. “This planned acceleration in Lévis will allow our employees to work faster, increase opportunities for our Québec-based supply chain, and deliver exceptionally high-quality ships within the scheduled timelines and budgets.”

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