MARAD issues timely news on U.S. cargo shipbuilding achievement

The U.S. cargo shipbuilding industry is vital to America’s economic strength and security

By ·

As we prepare for the long Memorial Day weekend, Maritime Administrator RADM Mark H. Buzby, USN (Ret.), announced that U.S.-Flag TOTE Services, Inc. of Jacksonville Florida as the Vessel Construction Manager (VCM) for the newest class of training ship, the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV).  

 “The U.S. shipbuilding industry is vital to America’s economic strength and security,” said Administrator Buzby.  “The selection of TOTE Services to work with a U.S. shipyard to deliver this class of vessels is an investment in our nation’s vital maritime infrastructure and underscores our mission to foster and promote the U.S. Merchant Marine.”

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act directed MARAD to “provide for an entity other than the Maritime Administration to contract for the construction of the NSMV.”  This procurement process has allowed MARAD to leverage existing marketplace expertise and target companies experienced in the production of innovative U.S.-built ships.

“The construction of this new NSMV will continue to showcase our nation’s shipbuilding standard of excellence,” added Buzby.  “Ultimately, it will provide an excellent training platform for future generations of mariners.”

TOTE Services is a Jone Act full-service company that will oversee and manage the detailed design, construction, testing, and delivery of the final NSMV. The NSMV is a new class of purpose-built ships to provide for the replacement of the current training ships at the State Maritime Academies (SMA).  SMA training ships are primarily used to meet regulatory requirements for training standards and to offer at-sea training experiences. 

Upon award of the contract, TOTE Services will issue a request for proposal to shipyards.  Pursuant to the contract, the company is expected to select a shipyard within six months of the VCM contract award and will begin the management oversight of the final vessel design and construction, with an expected delivery date of fall 2022.

The NSMV will help to sustain world-class, U.S. maritime training operations at the state maritime academies by equipping young American mariners with a modern and adaptable training platform.  The NSMV will feature numerous instructional spaces and a full training bridge, and have space for up to 600 cadets to train in a first-rate maritime academic environment at sea.

Along with serving as an educational platform, the NSMV will also be available to support federal government efforts in response to national and international disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.  In this role, the NSMV will be equipped to support major federal relief and response efforts, providing hospital facilities, a helicopter landing pad, and berthing for up to 1,000 first responders and recovery workers.  The vessel’s roll-on/roll-off ramp and crane to facilitate container storage capabilities will enable it to provide critical supplies to damaged port facilities.

This announcement comes as the Jones Act is again being threatened by many well-meaning but misguided politicians. As our readers know,the Jones Act requires maritime transportation between two American ports to be reserved to vessels built, owned, and flagged in the United States, and manned by American seamen.

In a recent op/ed piece written The Hill, Rep. John Rutherford (R-FLA) notes that “this pillar of maritime policy is a credit for successfully protecting our maritime economy and our national security for nearly a century.”

Here’s wishing you a safe holiday weekend. 


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [ protected]

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Article Topics

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