U.S. Flagged Fleet: Growth Under Trump - Pence

Ill just leave this here…

Looking at the figures 11 of the new vessels were tankers, has there been a big tanker building program?

I won’t complain about an increase in US Flag ships, but that chart is in the section called The Jones Act. Under that chart showing an increase (of US Flagged Fleet) of 15 ships over 3 years is this line:

The Trump-Pence administration’s strict enforcement of the Jones Act and strong commitment to America’s shipyards is helping to turn these downward trends around.

The source for that statement is the only one without a link, but the source link for the Jones Act Eligible fleet shows a 3 year increase of just 2 ships total. I’m not sure you can call two-thirds of a ship per year strict enforcement impacting anything, or turning anything around.


Ships are planned far enough in advance there’s no way any ship launched before ~2019 (if that) could possibly be a result of his policies.


A more accurate metric would be construction contracts initiated/signed by year, similar to how offshore O&G is tracked by increases in new contract backlog. I’m not sure if that info from the US major shipyards is publicly available, though maybe through press releases.


Agree with other posts that the metric to use about the growth of shipbuilding should more correctly be when were the owners signing deals with yards. Launching and placed into service is at the end of the commitment. When did the owner first put down a signed check to initiate design and construction?

Sadly, our US Navy has entirely screwed up that measure, with congress (politicians) involved at the outset of the process. Funding a “planned” idea of some kind of ship 10 years from now, where the idea of that ship constantly changes (even as it is being designed?!) and then building something while the Naval Architects are literally still trying to address change orders while the boys are actually welding stuff … is the epitome of the worst way to build ships.

I live in Hawaii and the Jones Act fleet here has experienced a metamorphosis in the last two years. We still have a few steamships left that I handle daily, routinely. But their replacements should be arriving soon, two in fact. One next month. The other, next summer. A third (maybe fourth?) will be repowered and a new motor plant installed. Obviously, this is the PASHA/ Horizon Lines fleet.

Matson has one more motor ship to be delivered and that will complete their effort to build four new ships to replace an old steam fleet. ALL the above ships are well into 40+ years old. They have certainly paid for themselves several times over.

Matson will now have a few motor ships in ‘reserve’ status, in cold layup until needed in the future for any crisis or emergency. These ships, still able to work as well as any other, are also old diesel ships (Ex-APL fleet, C-9 class box ships).

The next phase of significant box ship replacement on the west coast will be Matson’s Alaska route ships. Old diesel ships (that are well worn from Horizon ownership days) will need replacing soon. So we can already see a new order for at least two new box ships (or RoCons???) at least, with some of their existing China service ships being placed in different trade lanes as new hulls come on line. This also places some current motor ships from the CV class into potential lay up as reserve ships, too.

Interesting times for us out here in the middle of the Pacific. We also see on occasion new tankers out here. None of the new product ships have done a route out here (yet). But the large Polar Tankers are regulars to our SPM. We handle them when they need to bunker inside our harbor. Interesting ships. I appreciate they are not actually “new”. But when you look at a 40+ year life span, that’s a relative term I suppose.

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When Buzby and Chao step down after their stellar service, I hope the new appointees have the same or more spirited drive for support of our Jones Act fleet. Those positions are political quicksand among the “Professional Politicians” but hat is off to their efforts. Best in many years.

8 posts were split to a new topic: Dutch Merchant Marine and Agriculture

Covid 19 has dramatically cut orders for newbuilds all over the world. Deliveries this year were planned and ordered years ago.

Given our breathtakingly poor response to the virus, I would suggest that any progress made by this admin to date will be eliminated.

Some progress has been made, in spite of this virus bullshit.

JA_20 JA_19 JA_18 JA_17 JA_16 JA_15 JA_14 JA_13 JA_12 JA_11 JA_10 JA_9 JA_8 JA_7 JA_6 JA_5 JA_4 JA_3 JA_2 JA_1

Source is here:

So 2106 there were 11 JA ships delivered - 9 tankers - 1 Containershp and 1 General cargo (Go Coastal!)

2017 - 4 JA ships all tankers

2018 - 3 JA all container ships

2019 - 2 JA both container ships

20 ships total


Except Trump/Pence didn’t take office until 2017 and even then “delivered” in 2017 or 2018 couldn’t have anything to do with their administration. They are lying with numbers again and hoping no one will look into their figures.


So the next administration will not be ok to take credit for new builds the former group instituted?

Correct. Although I think the point here is that there is scant evidence of any administration, current or recent past, providing any “strict enforcement of the Jones act and strong commitment to America’s shipyards helping to turn these downwards trends around” despite what the White House propaganda might suggest.

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My point is the graph is misleading:

This graph from Trump / Pence purports to show increasing fleet size due to expected strong enforcement of the JA.


If that’s the case what does this graph show? - delivered ships is declining .


By the same logic it indicates decreasing confidence in JA enforcment.

In fact there’s not enough data, likely it’s just noise. The Trump - Pence graph is intentional misleading.


So a search of Annual Reports and press releases reveals the following for anyone who wants to chart this one (although its pretty clear even without the visual):

New Commercial Shipbuilding Contracts at Aker Philly and NASSCO:
2011-2016 - 20+
2017-2020 - 0

2011 - Aker Signed contract for 2 Aframax Tankers - SeaRiver
2012 - Aker Signed contract for 2 Container Ships - Matson
2012 - NASSCO Signed contract for 2 Container Ships - TOTE
2013 - Aker Signed contract 4 Product Tankers - Crowley
2013 - NASSCO Signed contract 3 Product Tankers - Seacor
2014 - Aker Signed contract for Product Tankers - Philly Tankers
2014 - NASSCO Signed contract 5 Product Tankers - APT
2016 - NASSCO Signed contract 2 Con-Ro Ships - Matson

2016-2020 - No new commercial build contracts Aker/NASSCO
2018 - Aker begins shipyard employee layoffs

I only looked at two of the major US yards, but it appears the only meaningful growth under the Trump - Pence administration is negative growth.


In my travels I happened across this:

The Matsonia was launched into San Diego Bay and then docked at NASSCO’s nearby testing and trials berth, where the final stages of construction will be completed. Matson expects to take delivery of the vessel in the fourth quarter of 2020.

One could hope that the Jones act fleet could find opportunity to grow as old ships are retired and that funding is dedicated to the purchase of a newer class of ships.

The reality is that companies like Matson and Pasha are replacing the older tonnage with larger ships that up the capacity but downsize the total ships in the fleet. Smart business move but net growth in available jobs is actually a net loss.

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