Since its inception in Canada in 1982, BRONSWERK Marine has come a long way, from working on the Canadian Patrol Frigates (CPF) program in the late 80’s, to establishing its latest international presence in Australia. BRONSWERK is a great example of a Canadian-based company seeking international opportunities, while leveraging its success with the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). BRONSWERK teamed up with Canadian shipyards to work on those programs and grew as a company with them, proving the intent of the National Shipbuilding Strategy – to develop Canadian expertise and to develop Canadian leadership in a world class industry. Montreal-based Bronswerk is now a global leader in marine Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R).
CANADA’S BOOM AND BUST SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY
BRONSWERK continued to support the Department of National Defence (DND) through the years following the launch and delivery of the Canadian Patrol Frigates (CPF). While BRONSWERK’s focus was in providing complex solutions through engineering, the lack of work in Canada pushed them to seek international work to keep the business going. BRONSWERK’s Canadian revenues were reduced to less than 20% and the company had to pursue export opportunities to maintain its operations. As BRONSWERK did not have a high profile at home, with no ongoing programs, and not being recognized as a leader in their field, it proved to be challenging to secure large international opportunities. As a result, in early 2000, the company was a fraction of the size it was at the boom of CPF, and most revenues were generated from smaller commercial programs.
BRONSWERK decided to commit to the upcoming NSS by expanding with a Halifax facility and then when the opportunity arose, with a second facility in Vancouver. Their growing involvement in the early stages of the National Shipbuilding Strategy allowed them to target international programs and grow their team, showing their ability to handle larger programs. BRONSWERK has grown their Canadian workforce from a mere 30 employees to more than 185 employees today, with the work they secured through the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The company’s success relies greatly on its emphasis of developing best value solutions for its customers, whether they were merchant marine, offshore or military. With an engineering core, BRONSWERK always develops its own solutions and designs and builds its own products to meet the challenging requirements of the marine industry. BRONSWERK has a unique value proposition for its customers by providing engineering and design services, as well as being an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for its own line of equipment dedicated to the marine market. Over the years, BRONSWERK has invested, qualified and delivered equipment for the Canadian, US, French, and Turkish Navies, including EMI, Shock, Noise and Vibration qualified equipment.
FROM COAST TO COAST
Today, after six years of being actively involved in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, BRONSWERK is proud to count on the trust and support of Irving Shipbuilding. As OEM for the AOPS vessels and taking a leadership roll in the Coast Guard variant of AOPS, BRONSWERK has grown a team capable of addressing upcoming challenges and to export their Canadian solutions abroad.
This trust in BRONSWERK has led to further work on the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) procurement which will see the company take a leadership position in the development and design of the vessel’s HVAC&R, as they continue to develop equipment according to DEFSTAN and MIL SPECs. BRONSWERK aims to become the largest global Original Equipment Manufacturer for qualified marine HVAC&R equipment.
BRONSWERK is also active on the West Coast, working with Seaspan Shipyards for the non-combatant vessels of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
BRONSWERK is the OEM for HVAC&R solutions working closely on both Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard Programs. They are involved with the two Joint Support Ship (JSS) vessels for the Navy, the three OFSVs and the OOSV for the Coast Guard.
The work BRONSWERK has completed under the National Shipbuilding Strategy has improved the company’s exposure to international clients and has allowed them to solidify a strong presence in the global marine HVAC&R market.
BRONSWERK has experienced significant growth in Europe where they have engineering centers and manufacturing facilities, while in France and Turkey they have secured important work on shipbuilding programs for surface and underwater combatant vessels.
NAVIGATING THE PANDEMIC
During the pandemic, some programs have been accelerated however, BRONSWERK has remained the safe and secure alternative to carry these programs to a successful outcome, as its business model is based on developing local expertise and content in its project implementations.
“Fostering the autonomy of our different international offices is an interesting but highly fruitful challenge which paid off significantly in our ability to support current and new clients during the reduced travel environment,” said Francis Fontaine, CEO of Bronswerk Group.
LEVERAGING CANADIAN EXPERIENCE
Today, with the support of Seaspan Shipyards on the west coast and Irving Shipbuilding on the east coast, BRONSWERK can pursue international markets which have become familiar with their involvement in Canadian programs. The company also decided to replicate its local content approach in Canada and acquired facilities in Australia, France and North America to maximize the local content while leveraging its Canadian expertise, as they continue to develop the Montreal group, where all of their equipment and system designs are centralized.
The security of work provided by the Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy combined with the requirement for local content from all major programs, has allowed the company to continue its Canadian and international business growth.