The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a blow to nearly every kind of business, but there’s some good news for the shipbuilding industry in America.
24 small shipyards, including two on the Chesapeake Bay, are getting grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) for a total of $19.6 million.
The Small Shipyard Grant is intended to help modernize America’s small shipyards to make them more efficient in building commercial vessels. Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp. along the Wicomico River in Salisbury and Colonna’s Shipyard, Inc. in Norfolk are two of those benefitting from the discretionary grants.
“Small shipyard grants play a significant role in supporting local communities by creating jobs for working families,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “These shipyards are a tangible investment in our nation’s maritime infrastructure and the future of our maritime workforce.”
Chesapeake Shipbuilding will receive $830,622 to buy a 130‐ton Rough Terrain Crane. The company builds commercial ships up to 450 feet long. You may have seen the inland cruise ships they build for their sister company, American Cruise Lines, on their Chesapeake Bay cruises.
Colonna’s Shipyard performs ship repair, machining and steel fabrication for the commercial and government markets, working on everything from aircraft carriers to the Liberty Ship John W. Brown and the Staten Island ferries. The shipyard will receive $799,996 for welding machines.
MARAD says American shipyards employee nearly 400,000 people, accounting for $25 billion of labor income, making it critical for the industry to compete in the global marketplace.
-Meg Walburn Viviano