The following is the text of a blog posted by Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen:
(WASHINGTON) — I have long said that when it comes to our national security and our nation’s prosperity, small shipyards play a critical role.
American shipbuilders not only ensure that our nation can build and maintain the vessels our military needs to keep our nation secure, smaller shipyards throughout our nation maintain our domestic fleet that keeps essential commodities flowing and goods on the store shelves including in Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. But what’s more, our nation’s shipyards continue to meet or exceed international standards for efficiency and productivity in building vessels for use all over the globe while ensuring the creation and availability of good-paying jobs here at home that can support a family.
This is exactly why the Maritime Administration awarded $4.9 million in grants for capital improvements at nine small U.S. shipyards. This funding will support industrial modernizations so that our small shipyards can better compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace.
Varying in size from family-owned businesses with a few dozen workers to more complex facilities with hundreds of employees, shipyards are critical to our nation’s shipbuilding and repair capability. The grants, awarded primarily to shipyards with 600 or less production employees, help fund infrastructure improvements and equipment upgrades that will increase operational competitiveness and enhance shipbuilding best practices.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said it best: “Small shipyard grants do more than just improve shipyard infrastructure and equipment or add to the bottom line; they also create jobs and new opportunities, and strengthen local economies.”
This is why the Obama administration has, made more than $167 million available to U.S. shipyards and their workers to spur productivity, technological expertise, and training. It’s a wise investment, because the skills and expertise that distinguish our shipyard community empowers our Navy and the entire maritime industry. Our economy, our security, and our quality of life depend in large part on the health and vitality of our shipyard industry.
I know from experience that U.S. shipyards produce some of the best-built vessels in the world and I’m encouraged that these shipyard grants will help ensure that “Built in America” remains an international shipbuilding standard.