The opening paragraph of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Information Bulletin neatly summarizes the importance of the U.S. Marine Transportation system:
“The uninterrupted flow of commerce on our Marine Transportation System (MTS) is critical to both National Security and economic vitality. During the ongoing national emergency, it is paramount that we safeguard the continued operation of the MTS in the face of the acute and evolving threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The MTS, which provides more than 90 percent of the domestic supply chain, is dependent on an extensive support network comprised of workers from both the private and public sectors.”
Looking at U.S. shipyards, the focus of an April 2020 report in the pages of Marine News, adjectives used by shipyard representatives to describe the situation are “hectic”, “fluid” and “crazy”, but by and large U.S. shipbuilders continue to build. However, the situations at and around every yard is different based on a number of factors including build profile and geographic locale, and several builders have had to temporarily suspend operations.
Metal Shark is among shipyards that have remained open amid the coronavirus outbreak, and its CEO Chris Allard said, “We are closely monitoring this highly fluid situation along with everyone else, and I think it would be foolish to think that, medium-term, the economic impacts of current events will not cause some level of disruption to our industry.”
What will this disruption look like? Only time will tell. Look to MarineLink.com and Marine News magazine for insight as we continue to deliver reports on the critical MTS and the vital industries that support it.