After reviewing and analyzing the growth of the Chinese maritime industry during the 21st century, the Navy League of the Unites States is calling for a renewed commitment to preserve and strengthen the U.S.-flag fleet, including domestic shipbuilding.
Released October 22, the report – China’s Use of Maritime for Global Power Demands a Strong Commitment to American Maritime – shows how China has subsidized its shipbuilding capabilities and its intercontinental trade routes to promote and protect its commercial and military operations.
It further demonstrates how the United States has reduced its commitment to the U.S.-flag fleet to the point that the report questions whether the country could be facing the same dire shipbuilding situation as occurred in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The document strongly supports the Jones Act, the nation’s freight cabotage law. It pointed out the recent series of attacks on the law as misguided, noting 91 nations have some sort of cabotage laws.
“In context, any weakening of the Jones Act would diminish the nation’s seafaring and shipbuilding industrial base and make America less secure,” the report states.
The Navy League document calls for more domestic shipbuilding from expansion of the tanker fleet to vessels useful for both the military and commercial fleets. It calls on Congress to pass the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act, which “could generate thousands of new shipyard jobs.”
In conclusion, the report adds, “We must take inventory of today’s American maritime industry, preserve what we have, identify what we need, and chart a path forward.”
The full text of the Navy League report may be found HERE.