Sharing my Undergrad Thesis 'Challenges Facing the Flag'

Yes very possible. It would take setting up a registry in the US VI. Which is possible and I hear on the table.


Right now, the MSP operators are flagging in older ships to fit the market. The current market would be ideal for ship construction if CDS was in place as it had worked from 1937 until it was curtailed in the 80s, and the liner market deregulated under the 1984 and 1998 acts.

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I sailed onboard an MSP vessel with Maersk Line Limited a few years ago between the U.S. East Coast and Northern Europe. From what I remember of our typical cargo, we did have some government impelled cargo, but a lot of it was commercial cargo. I remember a fair size of it being commercial automotive parts and medical cargo.
From what I’ve read, the MSP retainer payments only accounted for a portion of those vessels operating costs and were meant as a means to close the gap between operating costs and the revenue from moving commercial cargo. It was a regularly scheduled liner service.

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I think the goal of U.S. maritime policy should be two-fold: provide the most efficient water transportation system possible while also meeting national security (read: sealift) needs. Right now we’re not accomplishing either one. To fix things I’d nuke the current system – Jones Act, MSP, cargo preference, and all the rest – and start over from scratch. I’d figure out how many mariners and ships (and of what types) the military needs and then hand out sufficient subsidies to achieve that. We could bid out contracts where the winners would have to place X number of ships under the U.S. flag for X number of years and make them available in time of war or national emergency (kind of like MSP, but we bid out the slots instead of just handing out the subsidy). Then we could also subsidize the hiring of U.S. mariners to ensure an adequate pool to draw from to crew the RRF and commercial sealift fleets (I believe Norway already does this). Let’s have specific expenditures linked to specific goals. I’d also make the U.S.-flag much more similar to an open registry.

Admittedly, that’s not going to happen. Closer to the realm of what’s realistic, I think at the very least we need to scrap the JA’s US-built requirement for large oceangoing ships. It makes no sense. Having a smaller and older fleet than would otherwise be the case in exchange for getting 2-3 commercial ships built per year doesn’t pass a cost-benefit analysis. And the 50% tariff on foreign shipyard repairs should go too. You can go to a foreign shipyard, pay the tariff, and still come out ahead, so what’s the point other than generating revenue for the government? All it is doing is further disincentivizing going under the US flag and hurting the economics of shipping.

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I had no idea that was even being discussed as a possibility! How interesting. I’d imagine labor unions would have some negative things to say about a U.S. supported hybrid/ more open registry system since the Jones Act all but guarantees American Merchant Marine jobs (not that I don’t benifit from it too…). But in terms of benifits for the state, it seems like a hybrid system has a lot to offer.
I think I’ll have to look more at that.

That’s correct, mostly commercial. Some runs were 100% commercial, some 100% military and some a mix.

I can’t say off-hand how much of each, to hazard a guess maybe between 5% and 15% military. Some of the ships including mine carried a higher percentage military because of higher weight capacity and higher deck clearances so it’s hard to say overall.

edit - the 5% to 15% would be a guess as to trips with at least some military.


This has been suggested previously on gCaptain. I don’t see how you can’t have the best of both worlds.