Utilization of U.S. Vessels and Mariners Initiative | MARAD

Good morning ombugge. Was your breakfast of red herring served by a strawman this morning?


Oh, you lack sensible answers again?

Uh oh now I’ve been truly chastised. Answer what? Your misrepresentation of what I wrote? No thanks you take it from here. Perhaps if you take a few more round turns you can troll yourself. As a parting thought though I would only remind you of something Albert Einstein wrote - “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods”.

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There is in economics a debate about the minimum wage. A simple supply and demand graph shows that an increase in the minimum wage decreases employment but empirical data shows in some cases no loss of jobs.

This seems like a similar debate. Simple economics would indicate protectionism is harmful to the economy. The real question is what are the effects in the actual real economy? Maybe in real life things don’t follow simple rules.

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Bingo, that’s why the US shipbuilding requirement still exists.

I can imagine a regulatory scheme where the USCG/ABS go to these shipyards to certify that the vessel meet’s US requirements prior to entering US service. Hell, the USCG already boards foreign ships in the US to ensure they meet US requirements already while doing work in the US. I am very confident that the FAA does so with planes and the DOT with planes, cars, and trains. Further, we assume that the entirety of shipbuilding would just evaporate from the United States. I believe this to be misguided. I would be more inclined to believe that shipbuilding would be stretched across the globe for the final product. I referenced America’s Finest before. It is ridiculous that that vessel had to go through what it did to get approval (that may get removed down the line) to conduct US work.

If any American shipbuilder is worried about competition from, say, the ROK, Japan, Canada, or the collective EU they are both rent seeking and inept at their job. I don’t think anyone can call it unfair competiton between workers in, say, Japan and the United States.

Hell, there can even be a well of asterisks in that part of the repeal. Only US shipyards may build US military vessels. Only US built ships may contract with the US government. There is something called the Fly America Act that regulates something similar for airliners doing US goverment work.

I want to know if all the pro-US shipbuilding requirement of the Jones act guys here only drive American made cars. Only fly on Boeing planes? Only ride on GE trains? I would posit not.


Vessels moving into US flag are inspected by the USCG prior to service. Class also does the same.

I have to echo what @cmakin posted. I was involved in newbuildings in Korea that were put under US Flag and the Coast guard reviewed plans and performed inspections. I read what you (@DutchHarBro) wrote several times and have to say you don’t know what you are talking about. It doesn’t matter if a ship is built foreign for US Flag, reflagged US, or built in the US for Jones Act or trading internationally; the Coast Guard is always involved to fulfill their role as a regulatory body.

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Yes. and “Class” doesn’t mean ABS only
(@DutchHarBro) IFAIK several Classification Societies are approved to carry out inspections and issue certification on behalf of USCG:

Interesting article in gcaptain newsletter today:

I can see why so many foreign shipping companies wants to set up US subsidiaries to be part of this bonanza.

Take some older ships and put them under US flag, hire American crews and cash in generous subsidies while bidding for lucrative government contracts.

If you don’t get the contracts, or preferential cargo required. the ships can either be re-flagged then scrapped, or sold to MARAD for the Strategic Reserve Fleet.

Why would they need a ship dedicated to government cargo only?

Is there any reason a company can’t carry household goods for the government and commercial cargo with the same ship, or even on the same voyage for that matter?

No no reason whatsoever. It just adds to the $7bn they already get from carrying household goods around.

If I understand the nature of the GHG Contract it is a one stop shop where ARC handles the complete move. Not just the carriage over water. I am assuming the $7 billion relates to the full 9 year potential (if all options are exercised) of the contract as well.

Correct me if I am mistaken.

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You’re slightly mistaken—if all options are exercised its 20 billion over nine years:

Reads to me like ARC, a US shell Corp of Wallenhuis, basically, will own the shipments of of all household goods, and handle all aspects of moves through managing subcontractors. For ships, this means all the international HHG shipments bid across multiple MSP cargo preference ships will be gone, and the ARC outfit will own all transport. Kind of a blow to other operators but there will likely be lots of horse trading, with one notable exception considering ARC ships and routes—unless the contract specifies otherwise and preserves a US ship preference the household goods that would otherwise have to be shipped from Korea on a US flag container ship contracted by a DOD transport office would only have to be shipped on a mnt container ship with transport purchased by ARC or a sub.

I was never under any illusions otherwise. What is the point you are trying to make?

This took some days for me to want to reply to.
You make some bold assumptions about my background.

No, just no. Do you always just buy American? Do you always hold someone’s love of country over their head like that?

The rest of what you wrote reads to me as completely incoherent.

So I would have hoped you recognized the opening as somewhat of a rhetorical device attempting to show that from a certain perspective different than yours this proposal to scrap US build requirement appears just as incoherent as as you find my argument. But since you took offense I’ll moderate myself and delete that.

No, as much as I would prefer to I don’t always “buy American” but that has nothing to do with my argument. My premise is that no carriers seem to be having problems building ships in the US to move all the cargo between US ports. My premise is I don’t believe there is some pent up demand for typical jones act cargo that is not being moved for lack of bottoms. My premise is a ship is not a commodity good and for now US shipbuilding provides good jobs directly and indirectly.

I don’t know about holding anything over anyone’s head but yes I do believe absent some further explanation of how cargo volumes are going to mysteriously increase to the point of requiring increasing total numbers of ships and the therefore actual new jobs some claim will be the result. If the change does not do that then the chief beneficiaries will be ship owners in all their glory whether mom and pop or bank backed / foreign backed. So the trade off is lower operating costs for them, few if any new sea going jobs and lost shipbuilding jobs.

So yeah I don’t think the law should be changed. I’m open to hearing how this is going to increases fleet size / jobs but just saying “I can buy toys, appliances and tools from China, Mexico or wherever so why can’t I by my ships there” is a not a good enough reason right now.

For context:

I saw the rhetoric and thought it was assinine. I can argue with every industry in these United States needs some sort of protection. What should be protected and at what cost? I can understand protecting American labor, the emotion it elicits. How could another, fellow American not want to protect American jobs?! It is disingenuous of you to want to force on the American people your, our, industry at their expense?

Everyone here recognizes that US shipbuilding is down. Is it 100% because of the Jones Act? Probably not. Can you lay any blame at the Jones Act? Absolutely. I’ll give it more blame than not. But you cry of some doom and gloom scenario where more Americans would be on the street if the American shipyards hold a monopoly on US shipbuilding. This will not happen, it is sensationalist at best and dishonest at worst.

Repealing the US shipbuilding requirement wouldn’t mean the evaporation of American jobs, it would stretch the building and supplying of American ships across the globe. I have beaten this horse dead above.

In 2020 the US shipbuilding requirement only benefits the few at the expense of the many.

One of the best videos I viewed on the topics addressed something similar, here. Watch this as well.

What else can we do to protect or create American jobs? Follow the lead of Oregon and New Jersey and require that only gas station attendants can pump gas? Give the guys working the excivators spoons?
Applying this to ships, should the new Panama Canal be destroyed because smaller ships mean more crews which mean more jobs. Should ships in American service only carry 20000mt of bulk cargo at a pop? American service roros only carry 500 cars? We recognize this as ridiculous. Should we force all non-American cars out of the United States? Will you only ride

It is actually a good enough reason right now. It will now and always be a good enough reason in an actual free market.

How many companies manufacture TVs and computer screens in the US? None. Is this a good thing?

A huge percentage of our medications are produced foreign, especially in China. Is this a good thing?

Most US producers of rare earth minerals shutdown because of much cheaper Chinese competition. Is this a good thing?

Should we shutdown US oil production because it’s cheaper and better for our local environment to buy foreign oil?

Should we replace American school teachers with smarter, better educated, Indian school teachers who will work for half the money?

Where does this insanity stop?

Until you can prove this, instead of just asserting it, it’s just wishing. There is no reason to believe any of the tens of thousands of US shipbuilding and related jobs would survive a change in the build laws. People will take the cheaper option in big capital spending, building expenses like ships. The shipbuilding industry is basically an exercise already in maximizing foreign resources to make (sometimes more appropriate to call ‘assemble’) US ships from foreign design and components as long as it doesn’t go too far like that fishing vessel in Washington. There’s a limit to how much, and while less US content means less for US shipbuilders and related industries, as Jefferson once said to Madison on securing approval for the amendments to the Constitution that would become the Bill of Rights, half a loaf is better than none.

How do you know this will have a disastrous impact on those jobs—-ITBs/ATBs. Why do we have so many and the world so few? Because under US Manning rules, it’s cheaper. The companies will seek the cheaper options in the same market with the rules. They prove this over and over.

Plus there is no new impulse of water trade that will suddenly be more cost advantageous than other modes already in use. Want more ships—building more routes, like offshore work.

It’s so tiring to see the same arguments over and over… mariners seem to think that if they kick out the shipbuilders out from under the shared umbrella of protectionism that is the JA, there’ll be more room for more mariners. They justify pushing them out into the rain as some kind of deserved punishment for ‘failing’ at capitalism or something while ignoring that their own jobs suffer from the same impact of protectionism. Mariners can seek and obtain Mariner employment pretty much anywhere in the world, or make it a cheaper market here by taking lower wages, shipyards have to deal with supplies, facilities, labor, environmental they are more constrained to specific regulated markets, protectionism forces them to invest and benefit those markets nothing forces the Mariner, they choose beneficial situations with regard to their marketability, training, improvement, price point. Operating costs and labor are why there are so many barges… efforts to remove the shipbuilding provision are just efforts to make the barges and tugs and fishing vessels cheaper. With the plentiful world market of shipbuilding—many of which are subsidized—there is no way US yards will survive, won’t happen all at once, but it will—because you can’t just will away all the actual cost issues for the US market.

Whatever the merits of shipbuilding protectionism—which the US has had in some form basically since founding—removing it (and that’s the question, not if it’s good, but if removing it is good) will certainly have lasting detrimental impacts and its current existence has and continues to force a lot of money into communities that more Mariner jobs won’t (if that would result which it won’t). Removing it doesn’t make more room under the umbrella, it just shrinks the umbrella, the same people trying to close it completely will then start shrinking it further by question crewing citizenship provisions as Cato Institute already has.

Looking forward to the next thread on the same damned thing in another few months… Happy Fourth everyone!

Why are so many of the US shipyards that build ships for the Jones Act market (and for the US Navy) owned by subsidiaries of foreign shipbuilders?

Why are so many of the ships that fly the US flag owned and operated by subsidiaries of foreign shipping companies?

Just asking.