Victoria firms line up for a slice of the shipbuilding pie

Local companies among 600 to attend summit in Vancouver today

BY CARLA WILSON, TIMES COLONIST

The Saanich Peninsula’s Ramsay Group of companies will be among th e 600 companie s packing a shipbuilding summit in Vancouver today.

Organizers had originally expected about 300 participants but ended up with double that for the event, an early step in advising firms of shipbuilding opportunities, Jerra Byrne, director of communications for the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, said Tuesday from Ottawa.

Small-and medium-sized firm s have signed up to find out if they can get a slice of the $33 billion in contracts going to Seaspan Marine Corp., owner of Vancouver and Victoria shipyards, and Irving Shipbuilding, of Nova Scotia.

Most participants are from B.C. and several are fr om Vancouver Island, but some are from elsewhere in Canada, Byrne said. The summit starts at 8: 30 a.m. at the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside.

Speakers will take up the majority of the day and a reception-networking session runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Ramsay Group is sending Jim McLeod, general manager for EMCS Industries Ltd., which specializes in corrosion control and water treatment system s for ships. Also attending is Brock Ramsay, vice president of sales and marketing for the Ramsay Group.

The family company focuses on fabricating, machining and manufacturing various types of equipment for several sectors, including marine.

Greg Ramsay, company president, said Tuesday there is plenty of interest.

It is just a matter of what it will mean for the local companies,” he said.

Ramsay is hoping that if foreign suppliers are used, partnerships could be set up to provide business for local firms and to aid in information transfer.

Representatives from Seaspan and Irving will speak at the summit. Lynne Yelich, minister of state for Western Economic Diversification, will open the event.

The summit follows an April event in Saskatoon, where businesses also heard about shipbuilding opportunities. Further “boot camp” events will be staged, including shipyard tours for businesses, Byrne said.

Further locations and dates will be finalized and announced on the Western Economic Diversification website, she said. cjwilson@timescolonist.com Twitter: @carlawilsonTC