Sun setting on foreign ferries?

An $8 billion federal contract for Coast Guard and navy ships could mean the end of ferries built in foreign shipyards, B.C. government officials say.

Two of BC Ferries' three German-built coastal class ferries at the dock at Swartz Bay.

VICTORIA – An $8 billion federal contract for Coast Guard and navy support ships could mean the end of ferries built in foreign shipyards, B.C. government officials say.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell said Thursday the upgrades to Seaspan facilities in North Vancouver and Victoria to construct seven new vessels will make the company more competitive, particularly for specialty ships like the icebreaker that is part of the contract.

Both Bell and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom defended the decision by BC Ferries to contract with a German shipyard for three new large ferries delivered in 2007 and 2008.

Lekstrom said he supported the decision by BC Ferries to use competitive bidding, and suggested there would be a “taxpayer revolt” if the B.C. government put local construction ahead of cost. Bell agreed.

“The incremental cost of having built those other three ferries here would have been enormous, so I think it was the right decision at the time,” Bell said. “The good news is, with the advantages we’re gaining through this contract, that probably won’t happen again.”

Premier Christy Clark noted that smaller ferries have continued to be built in B.C., and the expansion of B.C. shipyard will increase their ability to compete on cost with European or Korean shipyards.

Bell said it’s unlikely that B.C. will go into the competitive market for freighters, but it has a chance to sell expertise in niche markets such as icebreakers abroad.

Just Posted

Agassiz’s Dickens Tea sells out for seventh year

The annual holiday event saw visitors enjoy high tea and historic talks

No defence witnesses in trial of man charged in killing of Abbotsford student

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

Agassiz Fire Department collects nearly 5,000 pounds of food for food bank

The annual food drive took place in the evening on Dec. 5

HISTORY: A curious commmunity connection between Agassiz and Pelham, Ont.

History columnist Lindsay Foreman shares her most recent story about how small Canada really is

Chilliwack condo sales up 153%

Year-over-year increase points to first-time homebuyers

VIDEO: Harrison lights up for the holidays

The second annual Lights by the Lake kicked off Saturday, Nov. 23

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Injured eagle rescued in White Rock: ‘It was the size of a turkey!’

Bald eagle may have gotten into a fight over territory

Don’t expect extra bus service during impending SkyTrain strike, CMBC says

Full SkyTrain shutdown is scheduled to start Tuesday morning

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Giants fall to Spokane Chiefs

‘We are just having a tough time scoring right now’

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read