Davie Shipbuilding

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Davie Shipbuilding is a historic shipbuilding company located in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada. The facility is now operating as Chantier Davie Canada Inc.. Davie is Canada's largest and highest capacity shipyard and one of the largest shipbuilders in North America.

Davie Shipbuilding
Industry Shipbuilding
Successor MIL-Davie Shipbuilding
Founded 1825 - as Davie shipyard
1850 - George T. Davie & Sons
1914 - Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing
1985 - Versatile Davie Incorporated
1986 - MIL Davie Shipbuilding
2000 - Industries Davie, Limited
2006 - Davie Yards Incorporated
2011 - Chantier Davie Canada Inc.
Headquarters Lauzon, Quebec, Canada
Products Ferries, Naval vessels, Icebreakers, Offshore
Owner ZM Industries Inc.


The Davie shipyard in Lauzon has a complex ownership history.

19th century[edit]

The Davie shipyard was founded in 1825 by Allison Davie (May 4, 1796-June 1836), an English ship captain, however the construction record only dates to 1897. The company was established on the south shore of the St Lawrence River across from Quebec City in the community of Lauzon, Quebec (now part of the city of Levis, Quebec). Davie's father in-law, George Taylor, had begun a shipbuilding business in 1811 and Davie apparently purchased those assets as well.[1] Following Allison Davie's death, the company was headed by his wife Elizabeth Davie until 1850, when his son George Taylor Davie (d. 1870) as "George T. Davie & Sons".[1] It changed its name in 1914 to "Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing." The Davie family sold the shipyard to Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) in 1929, however, they also started another "George T. Davie shipyard" immediately next door to the larger Lauzon facility.

20th century[edit]

The company built a wide range of vessels in the 1800s and first half of the 20th century, ranging from wooden sailing vessels and steamers to modern steel ships, both cargo and passenger carriers. During World War II, Davie built 35 warships (mine sweepers, corvettes and destroyers).

On October 27th, 1955, the Davie yard has been almost destroyed by a gigantic fire which has started in the foundry. The fire lasted during eigh hours and nobody has been hurt but many employees have been unemployed during several months.

By the 1970s, Canada Steamship Lines was owned by Power Corporation and in a 1976 restructuring, it sold the Davie yard to Societé de Construction Navale (Soconav) which was established by former employees of Marine Industries Ltd with financial backing of the Quebec provincial government's Societé Générale de Financement. In 1981 the Davie shipyard was sold to Dome Petroleum and in 1985 it was sold to Versatile Corporation which changed the name of the shipyard to "Versatile Davie Incorporated".

Davie Shipyard built SS Point Pleasant Park, World War II Monument, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

In the 1970s to 1980s the Davie yard built oil rigs and some warships however after CSL ended its ownership the company began to fail. By the 1980s, the company was in financial trouble and was bailed out by both the provincial and federal governments. In 1986 the federal government asked Quebec to rationalize its shipyards: Marine Industries Ltd (MIL) merged with Versatile Davie Inc to become MIL-Davie Shipbuilding. Under this new arrangement, MIL's shipyard in Sorel, Quebec was called "M.I.L. Tracy" (for Tracy, Quebec, a neighbourhood of Sorel) and the former Davie yard in Lauzon was called "M.I.L. Lauzon." Shortly after the merger, the new company, MIL Davie Shipbuilding closed the Sorel shipyard along with the Versatile Vickers shipyard in Montreal, resulting in a total loss of 1,700 jobs but kept the Lauzon yard open as it was working on building two large vessels for Marine Atlantic and three warships for the Canadian Patrol Frigate Project.

After the warship project was finished in the early 1990s, MIL-Davie Shipbuilding, along with the Davie yard in Lauzon went into receivership. After being bought by the Quebec government, Davie was sold to Dominion Bridge Company for $1. In 1998, the parent Dominion Bridge Company went into bankruptcy and the Davie shipyard went into trusteeship in 1998. It was sold again in 2000 and became "Industries Davie, Ltd". During this period, the company undertook a number of projects involving vessels and rigs which serve the offshore oil & gas market. These included the upgrade of a semi-submersible platform for Petrobras and a conversion of a vessel for pipelaying.

21st century[edit]

In 2006, the shipyard was almost auctioned in June,[2] before it was sold to TECO Maritime ASA of Norway and was restructured into a new company called Davie Yards Incorporated. In February 2010 TECO received protection from its creditors.[3] It employed at the time 1,000 people.[3] Investissements Quebec held CAD$28 million in share capital, so Davie can be considered partly a SOE.[3]

In early 2011, TECO announced that Davie Yards Inc announced a bid by Fincantieri – Cantieri Navali Italiani of Italy[3] and Fincantieri subsidiary DRS Technologies Canada to purchase the shipyard from TECO. This deal fell through in July 2011.

After the Fincantieri deal fell through, the yard underwent financial restructuring in July 2011 in order to qualify to bid for a portion of the first stages of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) which will see ships built for the Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Forces and Department of Fisheries and Oceans,[4] for a total value of CAD$33 billion[5] or $35 billion.[3] The NSPS had its bidding deadline extended by 3 weeks specifically to accommodate the Davie restructuring.[3]

As part of the restructuring, on 21 July 2011 Upper Lakes Groups Inc. (owner of Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc. in Saint Catharines) bought the assets of the bankrupt Davie Yards Inc.[3] The Canadian engineering conglomerate SNC-Lavalin, Upper Lakes Groups Inc. and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) had formalised the week before a joint venture to bid for the contract.[3] The new company bore the name Chantier Davie Canada Inc.

Davie was not selected for the first contracts in NSPS program, which had gone instead to Vancouver Shipyards, a subsidiary of Seaspan, and Halifax Shipyards, a unit of the Irving Group of Companies.[6] Vancouver Shipyards obtained an $8 billion contract to supply the Coast Guard, while Halifax Shipyards obtained a contract valued at $25 billion to supply the Navy.[6] Each ship is worth $1 billion.[6] In fact, the Davie bid was only for the Coast Guard contract.[6] Davie had only 15 employees during this time.[6] Provincial politicians were powerless over this bid, as can be expected due to the federal nature of the contracts.[6]

DSME cancelled its involvement in the joint venture at this loss. SNC-Lavalin withdrew from the joint venture in May 2012,[5] under a cloud, as its CEO had resigned in March 2012.

Upper Lakes, which was at the time the only owner of the yard, sold it in November 2012 to a partnership between Zafiro Marine of the UK and the Norwegian operator Cecon ASA, the latter of which encountered financial difficulties during the bid from which it emerged with its fleet intact.[7][8] The Surete du Quebec on 5 December 2012 opened an investigation over government interference, influence peddling, corruption on the allegations of Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who at the time was president of a failed bidder for the assets; he had previously been employed at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.[7] The government of Quebec, or its agent Investissement Quebec, had at risk $100 million.[7] Juneau-Katsuya alleged that manager Richard Bertrand had solicited a bribe.[7] Zafiro Marine later changed its name to Inocea, who kept the Davie name for its Canadian operations.[9]

Davie launched the MV Cecon Pride in October 2013; it was the first ship launched from the yard in over a decade. Davie CEO Alan Bowen said "This is a great day for Davie. There are only a handful of shipyards across the globe, mainly in Europe, capable of building a vessel to this specification and with this level of technology." It was the 717th ship built at the yard. The 130-metre vessel was scheduled for final delivery to Cecon ASA in February 2014. "It's used for multi-purpose applications. From pipe laying to subsea construction, to deep sea well intervention, it's really about deep sea,” said Alex Vicefield, chairman of the shipyard.[10] Export Development Canada forgave a loan to Cecon ASA[11] of approximately $216 million during the Zafiro-Cecon sale process,[12] which had tied up for many years three partly finished keels: the above-mentioned Pride, the Sovereign and the Excellence.[10]

In 2014, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley turned down Davie's bid to build Canada's next Icebreaker, saying that the $500 million that the firm's fixed price offer would save the taxpayer over the Seaspan bid was rejected "based on the credibility, the viability, the reliability of the companies".[13]

Ships built[edit]

This is a list of ships built by Davie Shipbuilding (1825-1986). For ships built after 1986, see MIL-Davie Shipbuilding or Davie Yards Incorporated.

  • Bay-class minesweeper, 1951-1953, 1955-1956
    • HMCS Chignecto (MCB 160)
    • HMCS Fundy (MCB 159)
    • HMCS Gaspe (MCB 143)
    • HMCS Trinity (MCB 157)
    • HMCS Ungava (MCB 148)
Provider class auxiliary vessel
Coast Guard and other utility vessels
Sailing vessels

Historic legacy[edit]

The shipyard in Lauzon, Quebec was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.[15]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°49′49″N 71°09′34″W / 46.83015°N 71.1594°W / 46.83015; -71.1594