Yes they will innovate but the Jones Act forces them to innovate in a restricted way. ATBs for example, and the hybrid carriers taking 53 foot boxes - again unique to the NA network but worthless anywhere else. In the end the yards have few customers, and there is probably a degree of them buying in work on occasions much as happens in construction. Sadly the days of Lykes Lines, Farrell have passed and the yards are producing for purely domestic vessels.
The yards are no doubt competent but these days, unless you are a leading yard, (Damen, Tsuneishi) a lot of innovation and design is brought in. design bureaus such as BMT, Deltamarin, SSSI etc. Once a yard has a library of vessels standardisation and production costs fall dramatically. Building in ones and twos doesn’t pay long term.
Once established some yards do - Damen can sell you a tug or a Multicat off the shelf. Agreed many yards in Batam and China have come unstuck as they had speculative builds of poor quality, building floating scrap. If you have a Mercedes product then you can sell on reputation and service.
Geographically there will always be demand for repair yards. The hard bit is for the advanced top tier yards to become attractive to the international ship owner. China will build to quality or total crap, the owners and bureaus will ensure quality for quality owners… Kobe Steel have invested in automated welding systems for ship modules - surely the US with all its tech can do similar streamlining processes?
Agree the crawler and barge is a cheap and regulatory avoiding solution, but is it flexible and time saving? Between the USCG Regs, which are bewildering to me as a humble outsider, and the Act it has led to cheap compromises that aren’t necessarily safe. How many barge accidents are there - are they subject to class survey?
Agree to some extent with tugsailor - I worked with some US Skippers offshore in Asia and found them all good boat handlers. However, re the wind industry where innovation required it whole new vessel types have evolved.with huge employment potential.
The US once had a great ship building industry - but building a restricted number of ships for a restricted, almost finite number of customers wanting ships of very few designs doesn’t, IMHO, lead to a healthy situation. The UK yards went down that route and disappeared, some are now recovering adopting new techniques and practices. I don’t know how unionized the US yards are but modern yards management and labour co-operate as the must both co-exist.
Agree 50%. However the Act means there are a limited number of customers and a limited set of trades then there will be careful cost balancing and a desire to stick to proven designs. However there are innovative owners, Wagenborg, China Naviigation, Oldendorf, Maersk who are willing to take a long term, counter-cyclical view and build ships for the next twenty years, not the past. If you build it, they will come.
Most times they get it right, occasionally they get it very wrong.
Wrong, I would like to see a healthy and competitve US shipping industry. The regulation and legislation is unique and has strangled evolution or the full adoption of STCW and other international regulations, MLC for example.
I have sailed past US yards and stood by vessels under construction in Korea,Japan and China. The organisation of Japanese yards is amazing, the Koreans learnt fast and China has two or three tiers of yards. Maybe half a dozen top notch yards - yards is the wrong word, they are ship factories. Perhaps the closest the US had in modern times was Halter Marine(Yes I have sailed on one)
I respectively beg to differ, it has created a self limiting pool of ships and customers with limited ship types.
Certainly agree that it is complicated and needs looking at in its whole. However the decline in the US fleet is undeniable and the knock on effect will adversely affect the yards, the mariners - the only ones who profit are the owners, as always.