The launch of the Bravante IX, built in a U.S. shipyard, was from the investments made by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) just three years ago.
The investment in and upgrading of the infrastructure can be an economic game changer, increasing competiveness and fostering long term job creation. Over the last five years, the work of two MARAD grant and financing programs have come together at Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, FL, to provide a perfect example of this principle at work.
The Bravante IX is the fifth and final platform supply vessel ordered from Eastern Shipbuilding by Boldini S.A, a Brazilian company. These U.S.-manufactured vessels will provide service in deepwater oil fields off the coast of South America and were made possible in part by a $241 million Department of Transportation Title XI loan guarantee. What’s more, two MARAD Small Shipyard grants, totaling $3.4 million awarded to Eastern Shipbuilding, allowed for upgrades to their facilities, making the company a more attractive choice to Boldini for vessel construction.
MARAD’s Small Shipyard Grant program, which fosters greater efficiency and competitiveness, enabled Eastern to purchase modern equipment, allowing them to construct vessels more quickly, making their shipyard not only more efficient, but also more competitive globally with lower costs and much higher productivity. The shipyard credits their new, Federally-funded equipment, and the construction of the Boldini vessels with creating 350 long term American jobs. Our Title XI Loan Guarantee Program, which provides full faith and credit for loans to build vessels constructed in U.S. shipyards, added the final piece for Eastern’s growth. Thanks in part to these programs, Eastern Shipbuilding --now employing about 1,600 people-- has increased orders from Boldini and other companies and currently completes and launches a new vessel about every six weeks.
The completion of these vessels and growth in Eastern Shipbuilding’s productivity show that the Obama Administration’s investment in our manufacturing infrastructure pays huge dividends. Since 2009, this Administration has invested more than $150 million to boost small U.S. shipyard efficiency and productivity and grow the number of jobs for shipbuilding and repair workers, and the thousands of businesses that supply the industry. The Small Shipyard Grant Program is proof that even modest investments in the shipbuilding and repairing industry produce significant returns and benefit both the local and regional economy .
MARAD programs that support U.S. shipyards are helping to create quality, good paying jobs and support economic growth far beyond our nation’s ports, rivers and waterways. In supporting them, this Administration continues its commitment to helping businesses grow, all while creating jobs here in America.