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TABLE XII.-- Materials or equipment furnished for shipbuilding by the various
NUMBER AND LOCATION OF SHIPYARDS AND SHIP-REPAIR YARDS
Shipyards and ship-repair yards are broadly distributed in and around the principal coastal centers of the country as well as upon our Great Lakes and rivers.
As this statement is confined essentially to matters relating to ocean shipping and overseas foreign trade the subject of shipbuilding and ship repairing upon the Great Lakes and rivers is not included herein.
Table XIII shows those shipbuilding and ship-repairing establishments of the United States which are members of the National Council of American Shipbuilders, the New York & New Jersey Dry Dock Association, or the Pacific Coast Dry Dock Association, and which normally build or repair seagoing vessels.
There are 93 shipbuilding ways in the coastal shipyards that are suitable or could quickly be made suitable at small expense for the building of seagoing vessels with an approximate maximum output of 900,000 gross tons of vessels a year.
Ship repairing is quite as essential to the maintenance of a merchant marine as shipbuilding. During the lifetime of a ship an average expenditure equal to at least three-fourths of its original cost is required for upkeep, surveys, modernization, and repairing damage resulting from casualties.
TABLE XIII.-- Principal ship-building and ship-repairing establishments in the
United States This list includes members of the National Council of American Shipbuilders, the
New York & New Jersey Dry Dock Association, and the Pacific Coast Dry Dock
Association, which normally build or repair seagoing vessels.
Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine.
Merrill Stevens Dry Dock & Repair Co., Jacksonville, Fla.
Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, Ala.
Todd Galveston Dry Docks Inc., Galveston, Tex.
& Dry Dock Co., Los Angeles, Calif.
Todd Seattle Dry Docks Inc., Seattle, Wash. (NOTE.-In addition to the above listed plants there are a number of others which have facilities for the handling of sea-going vessels.)
EMPLOYMENT IN SHIPBUILDING AND SHIP REPAIRING Employment in the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industry fluctuates greatly. It reached its peak during the World War when there were at one time, 211 shipyards in operation, of which 76 were building steel vessels and the remainder wooden or concrete vessels. Practically all of these war-time shipyards have been closed and dismantled since the completion of their war-time contracts and are no longer in operation.
After the war, merchant shipbuilding declined rapidly and by 1928 was at a very low ebb. As a result of the Merchant Marine Act of 1928, merchant shipbuilding revived and was fairly active until 1932.
Employment during this period, both for shipyard employees and those in allied industries engaged in furnishing the materials and equipment for shipbuilding is shown on chart 11.
The peak of employment during the above period was reached near the end of 1930 when it was estimated that approximately 45,000 persons were engaged in the shipyards and in allied industries.
The cross-hatched area shows the effect of the act of 1928 upon employment, and the rapid decline which followed the completion of construction under the terms of the act.
Chart 11 was prepared in February 1932 and the predicted employment in shipyards and allied industries for 1932 and 1933 was based on contracts under way at that time.
Actual employment in shipyards and repair yards alone, as reported quarterly by members of the National Council of American Shipbuilders and some others is shown on chart 12. This chart shows the total employment since June 1930 in those plants listed at the bottom of the chart.
The curves in the upper part of the chart show the average number of employees engaged in shipbuilding and in ship repairing for each quarter terminating at the end of the month shown on the base line.
This chart shows a serious decline of employment in new construction from about 19,000 in June of 1930 to 6,000 in June of 1933, while employment in ship repairing remained fairly uniform during this period although much below that prevailing prior to 1930.
Due to the award of 21 naval contracts to private shipyards in August 1933 and of 11 additional contracts a year later, employment is now on the increase.
The percentage of employees engaged in new construction and ship repairing is shown in the lower part of the chart.
Employment in shipbuilding and ship repairing [Figures are for employees engaged in the building or repairing of vessels in those plants which are listed
at the bottom of chart 12. The Figures include clerical force and administrative employees)
NOTE.—The number of repair yards from which reports were received were increased during the quarter ending Sept. 30, 1933, as indicated at the bottom of chart 12.
Source: National Council of American Shipbuilders.
WAGES IN SHIPBUILDING
GENERAL MANUFACTURING From 1929 to August 1, 1933, the per capita working hours in the shipbuilding industry averaged from 40 to 45 hours per week. On July 26, 1933, the industry went under a code of fair competition and trade practice, under which the hours per employee on Government work were restricted to 32 per week and on merchant work to a maximum of 40 with an average of 36 per week over a 6-month period.
While, as a result of the general depression in business, there were reductions in wages and salaries, the rates per hour were increased substantially under the code and at the present time are in excess of those prevailing in 1929.
As shown on chart 13 hourly rates in shipbuilding are considerably higher than those prevailing in the general manufacturing industries. The last available figures show the average rate in shipbuilding to be $0.748 per hour, which is the equivalent of $26.93 for a 36-hour week. This chart has been compiled from monthly reports supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows that while the number of working hours per week is less for shipbuilding than for general manufacturing, that not only the per capita hourly rate but the weekly earnings are greater in shipbuilding than in general manufacturing.
The trend in per capita weekly earnings is definitely upward.
NOTE.- Employees on part time were included in compiling the average figures shown above.
SHIPBUILDING A NATIONAL ASSET
The important part that the American shipyard plays as a factor in national security has already been shown in this statement. The shipyard not only engages in the construction of merchant vessels for foreign trade and domestic service, but its facilities and technical staffs are at all times available for the construction of both merchant and Government vessels in a time of national emergency.
While Government vessels are normally constructed both in navy yards and private shipyards the facilities of the former are required in a time of national emergency for the repair and outfitting of the fighting fleet so that the facilities of the private shipyards are in great demand not only for the construction of Government vessels but to assist in their repair.
During the period that the United States was engaged in the World War, contracts were placed for a total of 260 naval vessels. Of this number, 243 were assigned to private shipyards and only 17 to Government navy yards.
At the same time the private repair yards of the United States performed many millions of dollars of repair work on Government vessels.
PRESENT STATUS OF COMMERCIAL SHIPBUILDING While seven private shipyards are now engaged in the construction of naval vessels, commercial building is at an extremely low ebb, the only sea-going merchant vessels under construction being 2 oil tankers, each of about 9,000
Because of the general depression in shipping, as well as in other lines of business, activity in the shipbuilding industry is also far below that obtaining in normal times, although it has shown a moderate improvement during the past year.
Part V covers aids granted by foreign governments to their shipping.
Part V.–Subsidies granted by foreign countries to shipping and shipbuilding
Maritime credit.-The Trade Facilities Acts in Great Britain and Ireland have given aid to British maritime interests. Sums expended as loans for shipbuilding in Great Britain between 1922–29 amounted to £27,487,745. In Ireland sums expended between 1922–34 amounted to £14,909,237, giving a total of £42,396,982, or about $210,000,000.
Législation enacted December 1933, provided for a loan of £9,500,000 to a new organization resulting as a merger of the Cunard and White Star North Atlantic service. The financing plan is as follows: £3,000,000 allocated for the completion of the superliner Queen Mary; £1,500,000 allocated for working capital of the new organization; £5,000,000 allocated for the building of a second superliner.
Interest allowance on ship construction loans.-Loans bear a rate of interest of 3 percent (which is the rate of the Bank of England). Loans in conjunction with the subsidy for tramp steamers also bear an interest rate of 3 percent.
Marine insurance.—The Government has agreed to provide marine insurance on the Queen Mary and her contemplated sister ship, insofar as the ordinary insurance market is unable to do so. Approximately £2,000,000 of the insurance on the Queen Mary was absorbed by the Government.
Mail pay. During the past 40 years, the ocean-mail pay awarded British vessels has aggregated over £32,921,790 or about $160,000,000. Mail pay is awarded on a contract basis and for the year 1930-31 it totaled £820,000 (about $4,000,000), of which three routes alone received £650,000 or 80 percent of the estimate. The budget estimates for 1933 were £721,370.
Subsidy for tramp steamers (pending).-It is proposed to grant for the next year £2,000,000, the subsidy to be applied to British tramp shipping. The plan provides for scrapping obsolete tonnage in favor of up-to-date cargo vessels. The value of scrapped vessels will be credited to the party applying for a loan, the balance to be loaned at 3 percent interest with repayment over 12 years.
Ship-scrapping subsidy (pending).—In connection with ship scrapping the value of scrap vessels is to be credited to the owners in applying for a subsidy under the subsidy plan for tramp steamers. A bill now pending authorizes construction loans of £10,000,000 at 3 percent interest providing 2 tons of shipping are scrapped for every ton built.
Tax exemptions.--Under the North Atlantic Shipping Act of 1934, various agreements and mortgages of the Cunard and White Star lines are exempt from stamp duty and other fees.
Preferences or restrictions.-Imperial preference policies such as the Ottawa agreements are intended to foster British shipping. In 1932 only 19 percent of Canadian grain was shipped through the United States as compared with 49 percent in 1929. Duty discounts are granted by Canada and Australia to most British goods. A result of this has been that shippers in the United States favor Canadian railways, ports, and ships at the expense of American services.
Source: Shipping and Shipbuilding Subsidies, United States Department of Commerce Trade Promotion Series No. 129, supplements nos. 1, 2, 3, 4; Shipbuilding and Shipping Record November 30, 1930; The Shipbuilder and Marine Engine Builder, November 1934; The Natuical Gazette, December 22, 1934.