National Maritime Day Opinion: U.S. Must Maintain its Merchant Marine Fleet to Protect Our Sovereignty

You’re trying to explain how financial decisions are made by bean-counters to a bunch of financial illiterate sailors. It is futile.

Too add to your thought (which I completely agree with), crewing costs are also a variable expense, much like fuel and other O&M costs. But capital expenses, especially initial purchase price, are FIXED and usually the main go/no go decision driver when doing the initial feasibility analysis.

And you are giving 30yr service life, which is being very kind/conservative. Shorten the life and the difference in capex amortized per day makes it even worse!

And crewing costs can be adjusted, as it’s variable. But capital expense is there forever.

Exactly what ‘wrong answers’?

US shipyard costs are grossly inefficient compared to overseas yards. A ship that costs $40m from a foreign yard would cost ~$200m from a US yard. Why should American consumers pay for this?

Yes, US yards would likely close except for those doing military work. This has happened over the years with hundreds of other products; TV’s, computers, virtually all other electronics, clothing, etc. The US manufacturing facilities that made these products closed because they could not compete. Tell us why ships are any different.

The National Defense argument for keeping inefficient US yards in business is bogus. US yards would never be able to provide the number of ships needed in a short time. The crisis would be over before new US-built ships could enter service.

Your prediction that my ‘ilk’ would be back trying to get foreign mariners to replace American mariners is absurd. It is illegal for non-Americans to work on US interstate commerce; you should know that. This is why we don’t have Indian pilots flying planes within the US or Jamaican truck drivers on our highways. It is also directly counter to my ‘ilk’s’ goal of increasing the size of the USMM (US mariners).

I have a goal. What is your goal?

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If you did your homework as you tell others you’d know that JA ships carry Korean cars from California to Hawaii.

Got a site on that?

That 56+22=99

As I previously said, your financial arguments make a lot of sense even to this financially illiterate sailor. As I have also previously said, they are irrelevant to the purpose of the US build requirement in the Jones Act.

Because it’s the only thing ensuring we maintain our ability to produce a ocean going cargo ships, which are vital to our national security. You say these yards are not ideal and are inefficient. Another point on which I agree. However, inefficient is better than non existent which would be the result of your proposal.

They aren’t different. They would offshore just as those other industries have offshored if only financial concerns are considered.

Yes, just as it is currently illegal to ship cargo from one US port to another on a foreign built ship. You’re trying to get that law changed and, if successful, would be right back to further line your pockets at the expense of American industry, workers, strength, and sovereignty.

Which is to get your camel nose into the tent.

To zip up the tent to keep you and the Cato institute out in the cold.

Ever been on a Veteran Class tanker? “assembled in USA of Korean design and parts”

Not all the ships built have been of Korean design and parts.

At least Korea is a strategic ally of ours.

Yes, for the past 10+ years

Right… Which was only made possible by the US build requirement of the Jones Act

I don’t think residents in those places would see any price difference if the Jones Act went away entirely so I don’t think your conclusion here is correct.

So why not advocate for the US government to do what China did and heavily subsidize our shipyards? Of course we can’t compete with Chinese yards when the Chinese government dumps billions of dollars into them.

We spend ridiculous amounts of money on “defense spending”, why can’t some of that go to modernizing and subsidizing US shipyards?


Shipbuilding less vital to national security than medicines, electronics, computers, mobile phones, semiconductors and even clothing…most of which we import from places like China. All of these products are made largely overseas for economic reasons, i.e. it is more expensive to make them in the U.S.
We import about 40% of our medical supplies, with China being the largest source. Which would we miss more during a crisis; shipbuilding or antibiotics?
And as said, in times of crisis our shipyards would be of minimal to no value. For all of those who believe shipbuilding is vital to U.S. national defense, give us one scenario in which our shipbuilding capacity would be relied upon to win a war.
And yes, I am familiar with Veteran Class tankers, which are made by Norwegian-owned Philly Shipyard, Inc. It takes about 2 years for the yard to build a tanker, by which time most crises would be over.

Consumers that rely upon JA shipping, like those in PR, Alaska and Hawaii are most certainly paying higher prices for those items.

The government and consumers do heavily subsidize our shipbuilding industry, via the JA. Someone has to pay for a JA ship that costs $200m to build in the U.S. vs $40m overseas. Why should we subsidize shipbuilding and not electronics, computers, etc which are more vital to national defense?

The prices in the store circulars that come in the Sunday paper for Fred Meyer are the same in Seattle as in Juneau. To the penny.

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The government is subsidizing microchip manufacturing in the US now because they saw how bad it is to have such vital components made in other countries.

Paying for a service (shipping a product) isn’t a subsidy.

Not because of the Jones Act. The extra cost, when broken down per can of soup, is unnoticeable to the consumer.

Right, so who is paying for the higher cost of using JA ships? National and large brands often have uniform prices throughout the U.S. so their prices are not indicative.

We know that shipping is much more expensive than it would be on foreign built ships…that is not up for debate. Those higher costs are passed on to consumers…we also know this is true. There are billions of ‘cans of soup’ sold.

Yes, it certainly is a subsidy when it is required by federal law.