Friday, December 16, 2011

David Hahn's Real Gift To The German Shipbuilding Industry...



Late Friday Afternoon Doc. Dump Free-Zone Update: Ms. Montgomery has an update about who the secret waiver mongers just might (or might not) be....

Double-Secret Probation Saturday Morning Update: Mystery solved, by Chris b/w a big Davey Keonish-type assist from, who else, Dave of the Beaver, here....

Remember those dock-destroying, fuel-guzzling ferries that British Columbians paid the Germans to build to make sure British Columbians didn't.

Build them, I mean.


Way back when (i.e. 2005) we talked about the nut-cutting that was required to make the thing work financially:

"....the only way that Mr. Campbell's right hand, (no)arms length man on the issue, Davey 'Jones Locker' Hahn, can make this work financially is to get the federal government to waive that pesky $125 million import duty that is supposed to kick in if you don't build the Ferries in Canada..."

Well, we all know how that turned out:

"Jim Flaherty, Canada's Minister of Finance, has announced a waiver of Canada's 25 percent import tariff on imports of all general cargo vessels and tankers, as well as ferries longer than 129 meters..."

And, guess what!

It looks like private companies are now taking fullest advantage of the new rules that can save them big bucks by going offshore for their biggest of big ships.

And sometimes, perhaps because they have government contracts, they might even do it in...


Chris Montgomery, who really knows about these things, has the story:

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a mysterious Canadian company that had placed an order for a container/vehicle ferry with the same German shipyard that built BC Ferries’ big new vessels a few years ago.

My main point was that it was very odd for such a big contract to be announced without naming the party that was doing the buying.

The German shipyard should have been boasting all over the place, not just in quiet interviews, given the dismal state of the European economy and of shipbuilding in general right now. And boasting aside, these are normally just straightforward announcements made through the industry press....

{snippety doo-dah}

...As many of my clever readers helpfully pointed out, there’s a news story written in German that deals with the contract announcement (but doesn’t name the buyer either). Roughly translated, part of the piece points out the new ferry is intended for use between Montreal and Newfoundland. So again, FedNav fits the bill.

In any case, that still doesn’t explain the secrecy.

Unless it was mostly about Canadian sensibilities over the past year, when Ottawa was busy cancelling the import duty on imported vessels — including ferries over 129 metres. This new one is planned for 210 metres.

Because at the same time that was going on, the country was beginning to hear about the billions of dollars worth of shipbuilding money that Ottawa was about to sprinkle around the country.

Maybe as all of those very political headlines were being written, it just seemed smarter to fly under the radar...

Now, stepping back for a moment...

Why, I wonder, would the Straussians who currently rule us, who also love to con us whenever possible, want to keep on keepin' on with a program that is designed destroy an indigenous shipbuilding industry while they simultaneously throw around billions of our money in shipbuilding contracts?


Could it have anything to do with blowing up....




Anonymous said...

As part of those decisions, the Government is remitting the $15.3 million in customs duties paid on two tankers, the Algonova and the AlgoCanada, imported from Turkey by Algoma Central Corporation in 2008 and 2009.

BC Ferries was not the mover and shaker on this relaxing of import duties.

RossK said...

Thanks Anon.

Of course they weren't, but what they did hinged on it.

And they also helped make it possible for all manner of fine folks to follow suit.


Dave said...

Say OCEANEX ten times, really really fast.

RossK said...


I absolutely refuse!

However, I take it that Christina must have an update...On my way...


Grant G said...

I find this article very disturbing.

RossK said...


They are responding to public pressure with deflector spin.

The real thing is that that fund is often used as a boondoggle.

And if companies were forced to go through the kind of peer review that real actual scientists have to go through to get way, way less of the large, at the very least 75% of the crap would fall by the wayside immediately.

(right now the CIHR, which funds the great majority of biomedical research in this country, rejects more than 80% of the applications it receives from above mentioned 'real' scientists. And the thing is, the CIHR's budget costs us about 25% of what the boondoggle costs us every single year)


Christina Montgomery said...

Thanks for furthering the discussion, Mr. K. You sifted the right issue out from among all my words.

When I wrote my first post, there were a number of Canadian companies that might have placed the order, and since I don't know the right name and am still ruling out the false names, I tried not to go there too precisely.

One real question was the secrecy, and the other was what it meant.

Duty remission and the ability of Canadian yards to design and compete in the big leagues are also big issues. Big. And they become really clear at times like this, when we're handing out federal money for military and coast guard boats and we have to toss MILLIONS and MILLIONS on the top of each order just to help yards modernize so they can start building.

I don't know if duty sensitivity as behind the secrecy. I was just sayin'.

There are other issues, including the German banks that offer loans if you order at their yards, which are hurting. No idea if that was a factor here, as it might have been for BC Ferries. We may never know. But when they dangle cheap money, it skews the field.

Last note: FYI, cancelling duty on ship imports was in the works for a couple of years, aimed mostly at the Great Lakes fleet, which was nearing the end of its life. That would be the fleet ex PM Paul Martin owns. (He also owns boats that work the route the new German ferry on order is going to sail... not that he's surfaced as the party that placed the order.)

Funny old world, eh?

So many questions, so few internationally competitive, unionized answer factories.

Christina Montgomery said...

Sorry, I meant to say that "includes" the fleet that Martin owns. Lots of other owners on the Lakes and the East coast, all lobbied for dropping of duty. All now enjoying the results as they replace vessels.

RossK said...


Darn it all anyway...

Wish I had found you way, way, way back when I first started this here little F-Troop blog.


Well....The following is what I wrote way, way back in 2005:

Awhile back, in an effort to point out a few dots that an ambitious young media maven* could then try and connect, we took a closer look at the winner of the big Ferry building contract, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gellschaft of Germany:

'This company (FSG) is owned by a tight little outfit called Egon Oldendorff Carriers, also German, which likes to get into bed with a certain Multinational that (mostly) operates out Canada.'

"Canadian Steamships Lines International Inc. (CSLI), a subsidiary of CSL,also operates a fleet of international self-unloading bulk carriers. Most of its ships are in a shipping pool with those of the German shipowner Egon Oldendorff (EO)."

Now, if you remember, the only way that Mr. Campbell's right hand, (no)arms length man on the issue, Davey 'Jones Locker' Hahn, can make this work financially is to get the federal government to waive that pesky $125 million import duty that is supposed to kick in if you don't build the Ferries in Canada.

And you might also remember that Egon Oldendorff's pool partner, CSL, is owned by a guy named Paul who currently resides at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa...

*I'll leave it you to guess on the 'young' media maven I tried to interest in looking deeper into this.

Grant G said...

Mr. K....What disturbed me in the article was...

Shifting the R&D research to quote.."Shifting R&D tax breaks from small Canadian companies to Major companies"...

And shifting R&D tax breaks to quote.."Capital investments"

Big oil doesn `t want science, they want tax breaks for their TAR sand expansion..

The "Harper Government" is broke, where else are they going to find more money for the TAR sand boys?

Chris Montgomery said...

You know, Mr. K, there are not enough beers in the world over which I would have to sit to explain the number of maritime stories that have gone unwritten in the past decade. Or two. Or 10.

Or why they went unwritten.

But you know, I'm always willing to bend an elbow and see how far I get.

RossK said...


Got 'ya now - good point.


Sent you a message via Email...Elbow bending costs are on me!


Grant G said...

My elbow works too...

Christina Montgomery..

I`ll give you a buzz next time I`m near the wild west coast, although I usually go to China creek and Bamfield.

Ross...You are the people`s champion, bottoms up!


BC Mary said...

To The Peoples' Champions:

MERRY CHRISTMAS ... HAPPY HOLIDAYS ... and please keep posting.

Egg-nogg all around !!

RossK said...


Great to hear from you!

Hope you and yours are having a great holiday season also...

And I can only assuming that there is lots and lots and lots of music involved!