Last month, legislators from both chambers of Congress sent President Biden a letter expressing alarm at the decline of the commercial shipbuilding and shipping industry. They have a point: the industry barely exists beyond domestic routes reserved from U.S.-flag vessels. U.S. production of commercial, oceangoing vessels is less than 1% of global output, compared with 40% for China. The U.S.-flag fleet has shrunk to a mere 177 vessels, whereas over 5,000 large commercial vessels fly the Chinese flag. It is not hard to imagine how this could lead to a crisis for the U.S. military and economy in wartime. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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