Why Local Ship Builder Lost Out

The Pelee Islander in Leamington. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

A Ministry of Transportation spokesperson says the province follows neutral procurement practices, and that’s why a Wheatley company lost a bid to replace the Pelee Islander.

“Ontario follows non-discriminatory and geographically-neutral procurement practices,” says Liane Fisher. “Ontario is also bound by trade agreements.”

Asenav, a shipbuilder in Chile, won the $40-million contract, and Fisher says the new ferry will be in service in time for the 2018 sailing season.

Hike Metal Products in Wheatley also bid for the contract. She can’t say how much its bid was worth.

Fisher says the ministry will be happy to explain its decision. “Now that the procurement process is complete, we’d be happy to meet with them and with any other shipyards that request a debrief.”

Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls has expressed disappointment Hike Metals failed to win the bid, lamenting the loss of 75 direct new jobs and 50 indirect jobs in the region.