United States Shipping Policy

United States Shipping Policy

United States Shipping Policy

United States Shipping Policy

Excerpt

Not since the days of the famous Yankee clippers have the United States ship-operating and shipbuilding industries enjoyed competitive advantages over their foreign rivals. To the uninformed this must appear incredible. The United States is blessed with long coastlines punctuated by excellent deepwater harbors. Its volume of water-borne commerce is very large and its industrial and engineering capabilities are great. Yet, despite these favorable conditions, shipbuilders and ship operators cannot generally compete effectively in the international markets for their products and services. Still the existence of shipyards in the United States and of an Americanflag merchant marine has been deemed essential to national security. As a result, these segments of American business have received many kinds of governmental assistance.

A substantial body of federal legislation attests to the attempts to promote and maintain a domestic shipbuilding industry and to encourage Americans to sail ships under the United States flag. Since World War I Congress has passed three Merchant Marine Acts (1920, 1928, and 1936) and it has amended them many, many times. It has enacted a mass of other maritime legislation as well. Certainly, maritime affairs have received more than casual governmental attention.

The maritime industries' long-standing dependence upon government aid has resulted in many Congressional hearings and reports on their plight. The executive branch of the government has also made studies of maritime policies. The most recent available during preparation of this book was a review of maritime subsidy policy by the Department of Commerce. An additional Department of Commerce study of aid to ship-

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