There was a time within living memory when America was the world’s biggest builder of commercial oceangoing vessels, and its ships carried a third of global trade. Those days are long gone. The U.S. now typically produces less than ten such vessels annually, compared with over a thousand in China. And barely one-percent of U.S. trade is carried on U.S.-registered ships. The U.S.-flagged commercial fleet consists of less than 200 oceangoing vessels, in a global fleet of 44,000 vessels. As if all that were not bad enough, the U.S. Navy seems incapable of keeping up with the rate of warship production in China, which is one reason China now has a larger navy. If Washington can’t do a better job of reversing these trends, America’s days of global maritime dominance are over for good. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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