THE CEO of North Vancouver-based Seaspan said Thursday his company is disappointed in a federal government decision to extended the bid deadline for two massive shipbuilding contracts to accommodate Quebec and Ontario shipyards.
Were definitely disappointed, said Jonathan Whitworth, chief executive officer for Seaspan, which owns the North Vancouver-based Vancouver Shipyards, Vancouver Drydock and Victoria Shipyards in Esquimalt.
We had all of our work done to meet the deadline, he said. I would have just preferred that (public works) had stuck with a very clear and simple schedule.
Seaspan is one of four companies and the only one from the West Coast shortlisted to bid on two huge navy shipbuilding contracts that together are worth about $35 billion.
A year ago, the federal government set July 7 as the deadline for receiving bid documents for both the combat ship contract and the contract for building support vessels including icebreakers.
But only two weeks before that date, two of the shipyards the financially troubled Davie Yards of Quebec, and the Upper Lakes Marine and Industrials Seaway yard in St.
Catharines, Ontario requested a two-month extension to the deadline.
Public Works and Government Services announced June 30 it was rejecting that request but was granting a two-week extension on the bid. The new deadline is July 21.
The government said in a press release the extension was allowed in the interests of maximizing competitiveness, which is in the best interests of Canadian taxpayers.
Davie has been in creditor protection and is in talks with potential new owners. Both Seaspan and Irving Shipyards in Halifax had opposed the extension request.
Whitworth said although the local company is disappointed in the decision, it will use the extra two weeks to fine-tune the bid.
He added discussions are continuing with the province about what it is willing to do to sweeten the deal.
Seaspan has requested that the province consider tax credits for the project.
Premier Christy Clark has described the navy contract as of "tremendous importance" and a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to bring jobs and "huge economic benefits" to the province.
A winning contract is expected to bring more than 4,000 jobs to the province spanning 30 years.