Изображения страниц

This program is a win-win-win for commercial U.S. ship operators, DOD, U.S. crews, and U.S. shipbuilders. U.S. operators, which are financially hard pressed to invest in new ships - no matter where they are built -- would have access to ships at international prices, without having to finance the up-front capital investment.

Under this program, the Department of Defense would own the ships ensuring their utility and availability in times of emergency. This program would strengthen the U.S. defense shipbuilding and repair industrial base, and create thousands of long-term jobs for skilled craftsmen essential to building both commercial and naval ships.

While DOD would have to finance the construction of the fleet, it would realize savings in the costs of naval ships. Shipbuilding generated by this program would enable us to achieve series production in our shipyards and supplier base. Increased production would drive down the unit cost of ships and ship systems under this program as our workforce becomes more efficient with each ship of the same design we produce. This building program would foster insertion of commercial technologies and manufacturing processes in naval shipbuilding

programs. These commercial practices, combined with quantity

production would drive down the cost of naval ships.

The lease payments from U.S. operators would be deposited into

the National Defense Sealift Fund of DOD to defray the up-front

acquisition of MSP eligible ships. The contractual terms and conditions

of the voluntary intermodal sealift agreement of DOD would still apply

to U.S. operators participating in the program.

A renewal of the existing MSP, under its existing construct or MSP

shipowner proposed changes, would place the Department of Defense at

the mercy of foreign shipowners to take whatever ship types those

owners make available to DOD - regardless of their military utility.

This was the case when the MSP program was enacted in 1996,

and MSP owners have already indicated that they plan to bring 5,000

TEU containerships into a reauthorized program. While TRANSCOM

may question the military usefulness of such large containerships, they

will have no say in the matter.

DOD has normally needed ships that can enter a majority of the

world's ports, rather than just those few that can handle extra large

ships. DOD has also wanted increased flexibility by having ships that can transit the Panama Canal. Maybe TRANSCOM will determine that it requires some very large ships, but TRANSCOM should at least have a say in the decision.

DOD also requires car carriers, or Ro/Ro's. However, neither Maersk nor Neptune Orient Lines, for example, own any Ro/Ro's participating in the MSP program today.

TRANSCOM has a requirement for tankers. Yet, there are no

tankers in the MSP program.

The mix of ships that TRANSCOM needs, while still ensuring a competitive commercial market for these ships, will be achieved under the program we propose.

I recognize that there needs to be a balance between military usefulness and commercial viability, because these ships will have to compete in the international commercial shipping business in peacetime. I am confident that this balance can be struck.

In closing, let me emphasize that our industry supports an enhanced Maritime Security Program. We support a 20-year annual per

ship operating subsidy to offset the higher costs associated with U.S.

merchant mariners and doing business under the laws of the United

States. But a program that does not provide for a fleet of American-built

ships with military utility, under the ownership and control of America,

fails to meet the sovereign security requirements of the United States. A

program that lacks these critical elements cannot be called a Maritime

Security Program.

Will the program we propose increase the price? Yes. However,

95 percent of all military cargo and supplies for our forward deployed

troops will continue to have to go by sea. Given this indisputable fact,

this is a small price, which America can no longer ignore if the U.S.

needs a merchant marine and supporting shipbuilding industry.

Thank you.

The American Shipbuilding Association has received no grants

from nor contracts with the Federal Government during the past three

years, nor has it ever.

Mr. Vortmann's curriculum vitae is attached.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »