The Shipping Federation of Canada, which represents the owners, agents and operators of ships involved in Canada’s world trade, welcomes the commitment to investing in transportation infrastructure and strengthening the Canadian Coast Guard expressed in the 2016 Federal Budget. According to Federation President Michael Broad, “A strong marine transportation system is a key means of ensuring that Canada’s exports and imports can move safely and efficiently through Canadian waters and reach their respective markets.”
Building on the commitments made in the budget, the Shipping Federation urges the federal government to allocate investment funds to the renewal of the Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreaking fleet in particular. That fleet is currently made up of over-aged vessels which are very thinly spread over a vast expanse of water. The resulting lack of icebreaking capacity is undermining Canada’s ability to build and maintain a robust supply chain, which is essential to both the Canadian economy and the social and economic well being of Northern communities.
The need for a comprehensive and realistic plan to replace the existing icebreaking fleet has been highlighted in a number of federal reviews over the years. The current plan to rely on the construction of a single polar class icebreaker, which was commissioned by the previous government at a cost of over $1 billion for delivery in 2022 at the earliest, is not a viable solution.