When Dean Major started his lumber company in 1960 out of Robinsons, Newfoundland, he had no idea it would be part of Canadian history. Now three generations later, Major’s Logging Limited, based in Deer Lake, is clearing the way for the Maritime Link, a hydroelectric pipeline that will connect the island of Newfoundland to the North American grid, through Nova Scotia, for the first time.
The Maritime Link, a 570km High Voltage direct current (HVdc) transmission link managed by Emera, will connect directly to Nalcor Energy’s Muskrat Falls Project, on the lower Churchill River in Labrador. Renewable hydro from Muskrat Falls will supply up to 10 per cent of Nova Scotia’s total electricity requirements, enough to supply 100,000 homes, according to Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy. The project will also reduce dependency on coal-fired generation and help meet Canadian regulations that require a 50 per cent reduction in coal emissions by 2030.
Given that some of the power from Muskrat Falls will be exported outside Newfoundland and Labrador, Export Development Canada (EDC) determined that it could make its financial services available to all Canadian suppliers for the Muskrat Falls and Maritime Link projects. For example, suppliers to projects like Muskrat Falls are generally required to post bid and performance bonds which, for small companies, can sometimes take up too much working capital. EDC will work with businesses and their banks to provide letters of credit or bonding where necessary, helping to free up working capital and allowing SME’s to bid on projects which would be otherwise inaccessible.
“We’re about matching world class Canadian businesses with projects that need their services,” said David Surrette, EDC Regional Vice-President for Atlantic Canada. “By supporting these suppliers to the Muskrat Falls project, EDC wants to help Atlantic-based Canadian companies take their first steps into exporting.”
Major’s Logging expands their business
When Major’s Logging was awarded the contract for the Maritime Link, they were concerned that providing letters of credit for such a large project would use up most of their working capital. Once connected with EDC, they were able to secure the financing they needed to continue.
“This is exciting for us, working in our backyard on a project that will have so much benefit to the area,” said Darcy Major, President of Major’s Logging.
Participating in the Maritime Link has already helped Major’s Logging grow by bringing their business to Nova Scotia and the US, and positions them for larger scale projects in the future. It also helped expand their workforce and created new jobs in their community.
High standard of work
Emera puts a strong focus on environmental standards, safety standards and the diversity of all contract’s and suppliers to the Maritime Link. Major’s Logging has a reputation for high standards in environmental assessments and safety practices, and had also recently hired female employees to operate their forestry gear. These factors helped them to stand out in the bidding process.
For Major’s Logging, ensuring they leave the lowest footprint possible while progressing on schedule has meant a lot of due diligence, such as halting work in forested areas during nesting season for some birds, and conducting re-assessments of environmental impacts. “This is our first federally regulated project, so we want to make sure we follow all their standards, and also maintain ours to the highest quality,” said Major.
“This is just the beginning for Major’s Logging, and a great opportunity for other small and medium sized businesses in the area,” said Surrette. “Muskrat Falls, and the Maritime Link, will allow a showcase of Canadian expertise in the energy sector.”