Since WW II, major US shipbuilders have been unable to compete in price with shipyards in other parts of the world, and often the quality from US yards has been inferior to world standards. Furthermore, the mistaken US government assumption that shipyards and ship owners have a common interest has led to laws to protect American yards from competition. It has also caused commercial shipping to lose out to alternative forms of transportation such as trains, trucks, pipelines, and tug/barge rigs from more efficient smaller yards and crews. The "US built" requirement of the 1920 Jones Act for domestic cargo has been a prime reason for this modal shift. Tragically for coastal shipping, most large US shipyards have failed to adopt the efficient manufacturing lessons of pioneers such as Admiral "Jerry" Land and Henry Kaiser that led to the "WW II shipbuilding miracle," that built nearly 6,000 merchant ships in 5 years, a feat that Winston Churchill said "saved Europe." After WW II, while foreign yards adopted these efficiency measures, that did not happen here, and our yards suffered from few repeat orders because of their high prices. Drawing heavily on SNAME's Journal of Ship Production pioneered by Professors Bunch, Storch, and Lamb, this paper describes not only the history and "secrets" of many successful yards abroad, but also many of the failures in US shipyards during the same Post WW II period. As a result of their failures, and despite "US Friendly" laws, big US yards seldom got multiple repeat orders which they rightly believe might solve their problems. The paper concludes that because of the very serious congestion now occurring on our near-coastal highways, together with major environmental and economic incentives to take cargo "off the roads and rails" should give US shipbuilders a new golden opportunity. Efficient yards should be able to get major repeat orders for a new fleet of fast roll-on/roll-offs (Ro/Ros) and feeder container ships, however, only if they will finally after nearly 60 years adopt the "lean production" principles pioneered in WW II and then exported to Asia and Europe.

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