May 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Building Indoor Ships: Davie Shipyard’s Ambitious Project

Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc

Richard Ali Davy walks lightly around the shipyard. He knows every nook and cranny of the site, which stretches over 1.5 km along the St Lawrence River in Levis, like the back of his hand. He has worked there since 1987.

It’s more than a job, here, it’s life!He says.

The 61-year-old is vice president of operations at Chantier Davy. Its role was to modernize the yard to build seven icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard. He agreed to postpone his retirement for at least five years. For him, it is unthinkable not to participate Upgrade From construction site to build Ships are twice as big In Levi’s.

It has sentimental value! »

A quote from Richard Ali, Vice President of Operations, Chantier Davy

Richard Ali is Vice President of Operations at Chantier Davy. He said his family members and his neighbors have been working at the site for years. Modernization and future deals were unheard of in 100 years.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc

Personally, it’s huge. My two daughters are working here. I have a spouse who works here. So it’s a bit emotional for the rest of usDescribes a man who started as a laborer, at the bottom of the ladder, 30 years ago.

Like the new building A masterpiece

The biggest change coming is the construction of a huge hangar to assemble the huge ships inside. It is a criterion for obtaining contracts with the Canadian government.

Surveyors are currently measuring the site. The process of finding contractors for the construction has already started. The works are scheduled to start in 2024.

It is truly a master facilityPascale Tabet, manager of these new infrastructures, explains.

Our employees, our workforce are safe and comfortable indoors, in the building all year round. »

A quote from Pascal Tabet, Vice President, Site Improvement and Integration, Chantier Davy

According to Richard Ali, if sheltered from the weather, production at the site would increase by at least 50%.

We are not exposed to the sun. We are not exposed to rain and snow. At minus 20 degrees, assembling the ships was unimaginably laborious and labor intensive.He explains.

A huge assembly hangar allows ships to be built inside.

A huge assembly hangar allows ships to be built inside. This is one of the most important criteria for obtaining contracts from the federal government.

Photo: Davy Shipyard

The shipyard upgrade also includes a new assembly line for many steel panels of all sizes and shapes used to build ships. All existing equipment such as overhead cranes will be replaced with more automated and robotic equipment with better lifting capacity.

We will also have a new paint shop and, new buildings will be dedicated to administration and employees.Pascale Tabet adds.

Pascal Tabet is Vice President, Site Improvement and Integration at Chantier Davie.

Pascal Tabet is Vice President, Site Improvement and Integration at Chantier Davie.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc

Goal: First icebreaker by 2030

The goal is to deliver the first ship to the Coast Guard in 2030Richard started Ali.

The timeline for the VP of Operations is simple, but it’s not set in stone. His team aims to finish construction of the new buildings in 2026. After that the first ice breaker will be launched. Construction should take three years to deliver in 2030.

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Richard Ali explained that construction of other icebreakers takes half the time because the crew gets used to the process.

This allows it to be the best shipyard in Canada.

The future location of the assembly hangar for building ships indoors, warm, sheltered from the weather.

The future location of the assembly hangar for building ships indoors, warm, sheltered from the weather.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc

Still pending signatures…

Although the shipyard has been part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy since April 4, the company does not currently hold any official federal contract.

We will continue to negotiate with the Government of Canada regarding each future vessel contract.Marcel Poulin, Director of Foreign Affairs and Industrial Investments explained.

Officers [fédéraux] We sat down with our teams to start talking specifically about ship design. Discussions are currently underway.

Marcel Poulin hopes to have news on the formalization of each of the seven icebreaker contracts by the end of the summer.

Marcel Poulin is Director of External Affairs and Industrial Partnerships at Chantier Davie.

Marcel Poulin is Director of External Affairs and Industrial Partnerships at Chantier Davie.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc

The recruitment challenge

The site currently employs 800 workers. Another 1,000 are needed in three years. Company officials are not too worried. The recruitment has already started and the working conditions are attractive, the firm said.

A few years ago, the average salary of our employees was over $90,000. Starting salary is $32 an hourMarcel started Pauline.

Site employees work on a four-day-a-week schedule, he said.

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