This is great! I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to it, thank you. This is exactly what I was hoping for.
I am still learning about the realities of the industry as I begin working government contracts and continue to read publications and etc in my own time. So what you posted is awesome.
- When I mentioned that prior to the cancellation of the vessel subsidy program in 1981, the U.S. shipbuilding industry was producing 77 vessels above 1,000 gross tonnes, I was using a figure from a paper I got from the Homeland Security Digital Library (Homeland Security Digital Library: https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=1759, page 15-3)
“Between 1987 and 1993, the industry sold only eight commercial ships over 1,000 gross tons, compared to 77 ships annually in 1975.”
The “prior” I meant was 1975, as that was a year I had multiple sources attesting to the rate of ship construction being so high.
When I review the MARAD report for 1975, I notice in Chapter 1, ‘Shipbuilding’, in paragraph 5 that:
“As of June 30th 1975, there were 83 deep-draft merchant ships, with a total deadweight of more than 8 million tons, on U.S. shipyard orderbooks , compared to 96 vessels a year earlier.”
But, under ‘Ship Deliveries’ it states that:
“Twenty-five new vessels, aggregating 1.2 million dwt, were delivered by American shipyards during fiscal year 1975”
I think there was a disconnect between the report I used in my paper as evidence and the MARAD report between the number of vessels ordered and those actually delivered during that year. I agree that the difference between ordered and delivered is substantial and I was incorrect (thank you!), MARAD also details the number of vessel deliveries supported by the subsidy program, for example in 1975 that was 12. I think my point that the significance of the vessel subsidy program was still, well, significant, is correct. 12 subsidized vessels out of a total of 25 delivered that year is still a large portion of shipyard production and I still believe that if the same subsidy program were still in use today (yes, the government budgeting is a mess and tackling the funding for such a program would be difficult/impossible without adding to national debt even further) that we would see more U.S. flagged vessels internationally and maybe even other foreign carriers basing part of their fleet in the U.S. Like what Maersk does with Maersk Line, Limited in the U.S. But this is harder to argue about because it drifts towards speculation. I accept that.
I agree, hesitated or refused would have been a better way to phrase that. I think that between MSC and the vessels under the Maritime Security program not being able to support those military operations in their entirety without having to rely on foreign vessel involvement is still disappointing to see, and that we have to rely on them at all to carry out U.S. operations overseas is a problem with TRANSCOM’s strategic sealift program in its entirety.I think that the U.S. needs to be completly self sufficient when it comes to military logistics operations, either through MSC or privately owned U.S. flagged vessels. We shouldn’t assume we’d have the luxury of being able to contract with foreign vessels during future operations. And even today, with so many of MSC’s logistics vessels being transferred from FOS to ROS-5, and those in ROS moving to the reserve fleet and slated to be laid up, without making sure that that loss of sealift capability is recovered through new construction doesn’t exactly go towards fixing the problem that our involvement in the Middle East proved exist.
I took those figures from a statement by the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Duncan Hunter, in 2014, I can’t find the actual minute report I used anymore, but the article by the Maritime Executive (The State of the U.S. Merchant Marine) has the beginning of that statement where he states, “ The U.S. maritime industry currently employs more than 260,000 Americans, providing nearly $29 billion in annual wages. ”. I assume that he is including longshoremen and probably other support staff beyond those directly employed onboard U.S. maritime vessels, but it is never states exactly who is included in that figure. I do believe that SCA is correct that only ~95,000 are directly employed.