U.S. DOT FastLane Blog: Seeing America's Shipbuilding Strength Firsthand

On Sept. 14, the U.S. Maritime Administrator, Paul "Chip" Jaenichen posted the following on the U.S. Department of Transportation's blog Fast Lane

Seeing america's shipbuilding strength first hand

The General Dynamics/NASSCO shipyard has been designing and building ships in San Diego's industrial corridor for decades, and is one of only a few full shipyrads on the West Coast of the United States. 

I was in San Diego, California recently for the christening and launch of the latest vessel to come off their line - the 610 food SEACOR tanker, Constitution

In the past year, NASSCO shipbuilders have delivered seven ships - the equivalent of 100,000 tons worth of steel. This includes the world's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered container ships, which were financed by a Maritime Administration (MARAD) Title XI Loan Guarantee. 

While touring the shipyard, I was struck again by the incredible logistical and technical expertise required to build these massive vessels. 

I met many dedicated workers, toured NASSCO's floating drydock, and inspected both the USS Independence (LCS-2) out of water and the ECO Tanker Bay State. I also received a briefing on NASSCO's new contract to build two 3500 TEU combined Container-Roll-on/Roll-Off vessels for the Hawaii trade. 

In today's challenging maritime environment, General Dynamics/NASSCO's commercial vitality comes as good news and is potent reminder of the industry's importance to the local and national economy. 

MARAD's report, The Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repair Industry, shows that the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry in California supports nearly 35,000 jobs, and contributes $2.3 billion in labor income and $3.6 billion in U.S. GDP to the state. 

In fact, California ranks 5th in the nation in total private sector direct employment for shipbuidling and repair. 

Clearly, the shipbuilding and repair industry is a significant player in California's diverse economy. At major ports and shipyards along California's nearly 900 miles of coastline, over 34,000 men and woemn today make a very good living working in an array of maritime industries and businesses including ship construction and repair together with its supporting businesses and manufacturers. 

The same is true in states and communities across the nation. 

Nationwide, the shipbuilding and repair sector plays an equally critical role.  According to our report, the private shipbuilding and repair industry in 2013 supported nearly 400,000 jobs nationally, while contributing $25.1 bilion in labor income and $37.3 billion in U.S. GDP. 

As my visit to NASSCO confirmed, our Nation's shipbuilding industry is leading the world in innovation while continuing to generate well-paying jobs for individuals and families. 

And as our report shows, the shipbuilding and repair industry in California - and nationall- contributes mightily to the Nation's security and economic prosperity. 

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