Merchant Marine Panel Discussion
- Dear Members and Friends,Here is an example of the type of events I envision the Pacific Merchant Marine Council co-sponsoring in the San Francisco Bay area. So far we are not the maritime presence we could be.It didn't help having the Maritime Administration office shut down when RAdm. Johnston retired. It doesn't help that maritime unions don't come on board as corporate and community affiliate members. It doesn't help that corporate officers of shipping companies don't bring their firms on board. It doesn't help maritime academy gradates are not gravitating toward the Navy League and this council. I could go on...Are you doing what you can to strengthen this council? Promotion, recruitment, and involvement? The success of this council requires the efforts of officers, directors, advisory board members, and individual members. Let's continue to build a head of steam and increase our speed as we move forward in the maritime realm.Thanks for your understanding - let's talk.PhelpsPhelps Hobart, PresidentPacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS(916) 739-6949 | PMMC at cwo dot com__________________________________________
New York Council, Navy League of the United States, Merchant Marine Panel Discussion
The New York Harbor, Maritime and Shipping industries converged on the New York Athletic Club on Wednesday, 20 February 2008, for an extraordinary report on the condition of the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine, sponsored by the New York Council of the Navy League.
The "inside look" and overview of our nations Merchant Marine was provided to the audience of 85 members and guests by a distinguished panel of experts, making a rare joint appearance to discuss the status of this critical facet of our nations economy and lifeline of our military forces.
Former U.S. Maritime Administrator VADM Al Herberger, USN (Ret.) led off the panel with an overview of the current situation and future outlook for the U.S.-Flag Merchant Fleet. In his remarks, he addressed the decline in the number of ships sailing under the U.S. Flag. He cited the costs of manning ships with unionized mariners. He also noted the lack of work in U.S. ship-yards, thus increasing costs beyond their competitors, particularly in the Far East. He warned about the exodus of irreplaceable skilled labor from those yards and the potential impact on the private and naval shipyard capacity needed to build and repair ships in the event of a major war.
He spoke about the advantages of the Short Sea Shipping Program, recently renamed the Marine Highway, on absorbing the anticipated almost 100% increase in cargoes arriving in the United States in the next 20 years. He reported that truck traffic has already just about maxed out on interstate highways. However, harbor tax disincentives, the lack of a maritime equivalent to the National Highway Trust Fund, aging port facilities, inadequate rail capacity and the lack of subsidies to build high speed barges and infrastructure to move cargo efficiently between ports were hampering the effort to make this a reality in the United States, in contrast to the nations of Europe and Asia, which have embraced and implemented the concept.