We are proud to announce that the Port Weller Dry Docks will be full for another busy winter work period with two Seaway max lakers.
As summer winds down, vacations come to an end, and kids prepare for the coming school year, winter is the last thing anyone wants to think about. But at Heddle Shipyards, winter is what we live for. Every year around the end of December, the St. Lawrence Seaway closes to shipping traffic to perform maintenance on the lock infrastructure in the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is not until late March when the lock gates open, and domestic and international ships will again ply the waters of the Great Lakes, moving the vital commodities that fuel our economy.
It is during this short three-month window that the Great Lakes ship repair industry and Heddle Shipyards kicks into high gear. Shipyards throughout the Great Lakes work tirelessly through the winter months to complete the scheduled maintenance work vital to commercial vessels’ safe and efficient operation, and this year will be no different. Although it is only the beginning of September, Heddle Shipyards’ Port Weller Dry Docks and the Hamilton Shipyard are have secured a robust backlog for the upcoming winter work period.
The Port Weller Dry Docks will service two seaway max lakers, and the Hamilton shipyard will be executing a variety of dry dockings and alongside refits. “Last winter was a particularly strong one for both the Hamilton Shipyard and the Port Weller Dry Docks,” said Ted Kirkpatrick, Director of Business Development and Government Relations. “Hamilton serviced more than ten vessels of various sizes, and the Port Weller Dry Docks had the busiest winter on record. We are excited that winter 2022 looks just as busy, if not more so.”
As the weather gets colder and the shipping season draws to a close, Heddle Shipyards will begin ramping up the human resources required to execute the multitude of projects slated for this winter. In the coming months, Heddle will be recruiting skilled tradespeople, general laborers, and support staff to complement and grow the Heddle team at the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Shipyards, as well as Port Weller Dry Docks. More information regarding the exciting opportunities at Heddle Shipyards will be available in the coming months through the Heddle Shipyards website.
2021 was a milestone year for Heddle Shipyards in many respects. The busiest winter in the modern era at the Port Weller Dry Docks, the acquisition of Fabmar Metals Inc. in Thunder Bay, and the strengthening of the Heddle/Seaspan relationship through the award of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Polar Icebreaker new build program are all examples of the growth of our organization. Although there is still significant work to be done to revitalize the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Ontario, another strong winter works season will help Heddle Shipyards build on our existing capacity to better serve our commercial and government clients and achieve our ultimate goal of bringing shipbuilding back to Ontario.