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US Shipyards Support $42.4 Billion in GDP

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 14, 2021

(File photo: Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

(File photo: Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

The United States' private shipyards support $42.4 billion in gross domestic product (GDP), a new report finds.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) report, The Economic Importance of the U.S. Private Shipbuilding and Repairing Industry, measures the economic importance of the shipbuilding and repair industry at the national and state levels for calendar year 2019.

In 2019, the nation’s 154 private shipyards directly provided more than 107,000 jobs and contributed $9.9 billion in labor income to the national economy, according to the report. On a nationwide basis—including direct, indirect, and induced impacts—the industry supported 393,390 jobs, $28.1 billion of labor income, and $42.4 billion in GDP.

“Shipyards create good jobs and support economic growth–not just in the areas surrounding our ports and waterways, but across the nation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

There are currently 154 private shipyards in the United States, spread across 29 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, that are classified as active shipbuilders. In addition, there are more than 300 shipyards engaged in ship repair or capable of building ships but not actively engaged in shipbuilding. Although the majority of shipyards are located in the coastal states, active shipyards are also located on major inland waterways such as the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River and the Ohio River.

The report states the U.S. shipbuilding industry has run a trade surplus in six out of the last 10 years, with a cumulative trade surplus of $7.3 billion over this period. From 2015 to 2020, U.S. shipbuilders delivered 5,024 vessels of all types including tugs and towboats, passenger vessels, commercial and fishing vessels, and oceangoing and inland barges, reaching 608 vessels in 2020. More than 60% of vessels delivered during the last six years have been inland tank and dry cargo barges.

“The report issued by MARAD confirms that shipyards are vital economic engines in addition to being essential components of our industrial base,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “The skilled jobs created by shipyards are not only essential to supporting our military and our commerce, they are contributing to the economic success of communities all over the United States.”

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