Port Weller shipyard operator files for bankruptcy

seamidCanadaJULY 24, 2013 — Seaway Marine and Industrial, which has operated Canada's Port Weller dry docks since 2007, filed for bankruptcy Monday owing $12 million to 208 creditors. The company is a member of Upper Lakes Group, which claims it is owed $6.9 million of the total.

Bankruptcy proceedings are being managed by Ernst & Young, Toronto. According to local media reports, they are expected to begin in August with a first meeting of creditors.

The St Catharines, Ontario, Standard reports that the bankruptcy declaration came as a surprise to St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, who has helped lobby for federal dollars to support the shipyard.

The declaration of bankruptcy of Seaway Marine, which has run the docks since 2007, also came as a surprise to St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, who has helped lobby for federal dollars to support the shipyard.

The Port Weller Dry Docks facility is a Canadian federal asset located on the Welland Canal near St. Catharines and managed by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide up to $5 million to support the replacement of the main gate and other required repairs at the Port Weller Dry Docks, which are 80 years old, "contingent on the private sector partner leasing the property contributing funds that match the federal investment."

Mr. Dykstra told the Standard yesterday that  the federal funding allocated for the repairs  has not yet been used.

He said the bankruptcy filing was "obviously disappointing," adding that "the last time this happened (in 2007) another company came in quickly. So in some ways, this filing for bankruptcy could make it easier for that to happen again."

He said that although major shipbuilding projects have been moved overseas to China, repairs and refits are done in Canada, so the potential for more work in Port Weller exists.