This study began early in 1958 following a grant to the Transportation Center at Northwestern University from the Committee of American Steamship Lines (CASL), all of whose members are United States ocean liner companies. The purpose of the study was to determine the economic value of the United States merchant marine. The subject was defined to exclude the industry's military value even though it is one important justification of governmental support of the industry. The importance of the industry, together with the extensive involvement of the federal government in it made the subject particularly interesting to the Transportation Center.
Valuable data for the study were generously provided by the Maritime Administration and by many steamship lines. A large part of the technical knowledge, essential for an economic analysis, was provided through the members of CASL. Particularly important were several meetings of industry representatives with the authors and other members of the Transportation Center's staff. In those meetings, the study was discussed in whole or in part at various stages of preparation. The industry representatives were of great help in clarifying matters of fact and in refining portions of the analysis.
The members of the industry who participated most actively disagreed strongly with many of the conclusions of the study and with some of its analysis. Their views and arguments were given careful consideration by the authors, but many important differences remain. In spite of important substantive differences, the industry representatives in discussion with the authors sought to convince rather than to exert pressure for change without persuasion. Neither the representatives of the liner companies nor the Committee of American Steamship Lines is in any way responsible for the analysis or the conclusions. The responsibility rests entirely with the authors.
The study has been a team effort. Although each chapter is credited to an author or authors who bear the primary responsibility for its content, every chapter has been read and criticized by the other authors. In drawing the chapters together, Allen Ferguson has made some significant changes from the preliminary drafts. At times, this revision involved merging different authors' work, resulting in additions and deletions, as well as changes in expression and in sequence. The authors have consented to these revisions, although chapters do not always read as they would have if they stood in isolation or were entirely the product of the primary author.