Manhattan’s University Club served as the setting for a Marine Money-sponsored financial conference, an event that attracted some of the world’s leading ship owners, financiers and legal minds to New York City to discuss opportunities in the U.S. Most of the talk centered on the blue-water, deep-draft end of the market, and was financially orientated (except for Jack Berglund
of Davie Industries
, introduced as the “lone engineer” on the speaker roster to the bemusement of the 150 in attendance. Jack had some interesting news from Canada
, specifically a discussion on financial aid available from the Canadian federal and provincial powers — aid geared to luring ship construction projects up north ... but that will be covered in the December edition!).
In a broad perspective, Maritime Administrator William G. Schubert provided
a forthright breakdown of the current status and future direction of the U.S. maritime market
. He gave strong emphasis to the near- and long-term prospects for developing U.S. short sea shipping corridors to ease traffic in particularly congested areas (i.e. I-95). Almost as a sidenote, he mentioned that, on the international playing field, the U.S. builders of tugs and offshore service vessels are arguably the most price competitive players in the U.S. vessel building stable.
The U.S. medium-sized shipyards are, indeed, competitive internationally, as you will see upon reading this edition. While skeptics often earn the larger headlines in our “bad news is good” society, a diversity of boatbuilding facilities, in all corners and on all coasts, are increasingly developing more technically complex, cost-efficient, world-leading boats of every shape and size. Increasingly, U.S. builders are forging international alliances, such as Bender Shipbuilding’s collaboration with Austal, and Bollinger Shipyard’s hook-up with INCAT. Both entities are fighting hard to win commercial and military contracts, and both are succeeding.
But the success does not end there.
Every day, across my desk, comes news of another innovation from some corner of the country ... an innovative Z-drive tug being built at Washburn & Doughty to serve the booming LNG market ... an advanced patrol boat application from SeaArk to serve burgeoning coastal defense needs ... the list is endless.
The economy is tough and dollars are tight, but the business is available to those that are looking in the right place.