Philly Shipyard

Why doesn’t this shipyard employ ex-Boeing managers to adopt the techniques the aircraft industry uses to compete internationally?

You really can’t compare aircraft manufacturing with shipbuilding. For starters, one industry is a duopoly, while the other is fully competitive. Additionally, in that duopoly of passenger a/c mfg., labor rates are consistently high. Whereas in shipbuilding, firms compete on low labor rates.


Boeing managers aren’t exactly highly sought after at this current juncture are they not? 737 Max debacle is still unfolding and there does not appear to be a bottom in sight.

To say that American shipyard workers can not compete with shipyard workers in Korea is an insult and it is also false. American workers are the most productive workers in the world. Maybe work rules and labor contracts need to be revised to reward not hinder productivity. Surely Boeing knows how to do this or they would not be as successful as they are. Also, it is clear to many in the industry that American shipyards are not technologically up to speed.

Maybe MARAD can politely ask whomever won the bid for the SUNY and Mass. maritime training ships to subcontract some work to Philly Shipyard. I know handouts shouldn’t just be given, but I think a shipyard in the north east is important for our nations maritime industry and security

I hate to knock my fellow Americans, but that statement is a tall stretch. From my own experience working in a US yard, and visiting many foreign yards, Americans lag in process and worker efficiency.

Now I know The U.S. can still build a hell of a good ship, but the cost differential with foreign-built vessels is too much to overcome.


This is also assuming the workers Philly Ship yard hires in their yard are all american citizens, which I can assure you from experience they are not.

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Your experience on this issue is superior to mine. Perhaps you have a recommendation on how to improve the productivity of the American shipyard worker. What is holding them back?

You can bet that Boeing is scrambling to fix this problem. No doubt a certain amount of hubris is the root cause. The hubris encouraged by the Jones Act may also be the root cause of the EL FARO disaster.

If somebody wants to start a separate Boeing thread, I can contribute, but I don’t want to contribute to thread drift. When I was with Honeywell I had the opportunity to work closely with both Boeing and McDonnell Douglas (which is the surviving company, despite the name.)



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No. If productivity is measure by GDP the USA comes in at 4th or 5th. However, GDP is not a good measure of productive workers as it includes the FIRE sector, finance, insurance and real estate. All of the FIRE sector produces nothing of value, they just trade assets and employ relatively few people. The FIRE folks extract money and produce nothing you can buy at your local store. Remove FIRE from the USA GDP and there is not a lot left.

The typical low skilled American worker is not very productive. Recent immigrants work much harder.

There is a reason for the term “shipyard-shuffle” to describe employees anywhere that just go slowly through the motions with out much pretense of making a real effort.

The first step toward shipyard productivity would be to install plenty of cellphone jammers at the yard.

The next thing would be to send American workers to foreign yards for some actual WORK experience.

Most important would be to end the welfare programs as an acceptable alternative lifestyle to productive employment. Too many Americans don’t work because they don’t need to.


It is some years since I was involved with a shipyard in Jacksonville and I thought I had strayed into a not very well run automotive dismantling yard. I was surprised that they achieved anything at all but having said that, some of the work was of a high standard.

America as a whole is pretty fucked in my estimation. Shipyards? Hell just look at our industry and the typical “seamanship” skills that are being brought to the table. My best seamen are naturalized Filipinos. There is no more pride in the job from the majority of Americans I see. It’s the same everywhere in my opinion

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I hate to say it, but I agree. I would hire recent immigrant sailors over most younger born and grew up here Americans. I’ve had good experiences with recent immigrant seamen.


Amen to that. My last “permanent” boat before the one I’m on now had Filipino unlicensed crew. I’d give anything to have them where I’m at now. Really hard workers, and the bosun I lucked out with was great for finding what needed to be done without me even having to point it out. Hell, even green OS’s were better than most of the career AB’s I’ve had in the oilfield.

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This thread has shifted from shipyard to shipboard workers but in both cases (IMO) much has to do with making the requirements and expectations of the job known. Don’t assume and be prepared to do some training or you will be disappointed.

Another point is that in economics the term “productivity” is less about if workers work hard or not, it has to do with tools and processes used.

For example an assembly line worker is going to be much more productive than someone building the same product by hand even if in the second case the worker is at a 10x higher pace.

Or a mariner on a minimum manned 15,000 TEU container ship is going to be much more productive in terms of cargo moved per person then a mariner on a 10 teu coastwise barge even if the work on the barge is much harder.


Individual Labour productivity and Labour Productivity in terms of GDP is two vastly different things:

If you look at this in monetary terms the picture may be different, depending on the hourly cost of labour and the price of bread in each workplace.

The same applies to shipyards. If a ship built at one yard takes twice as long to build, but can fetch triple the price, that yard may be as labour productive as another yard building the same ship at half the time with a larger workforce, but at less labour cost per man-hour.

If any of the yards spend money on modernising their facilities and train their workforce, they can both improve their labour productivity and pay higher wages.

Productivity in terms of GDP is different, since GDP is a measure of a country’s total economic output for each year.
This includes not only production but also all other economic activity, incl. personal consumption, which in the US is near 70% of GDP:

Labour Productivity is thus GDP/Labour force size.