Offering the industry a busy schedule ahead, the US shipbuilders backed President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to enrich the country’s defence force with a 350-ship fleet.
Congratulating Trump and the members of the 115th Congress, the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) said the industry is looking forward to work together to realize the goal.
“We congratulate President-elect Trump, his nominees and the new and returning members of the 115th Congress and look forward to working with them on a positive agenda with a strong commitment to jobs, infrastructure projects and building up America’s Armed Forces and industrial base,” said Matthew Paxton, President of SCA.
Claiming the US Navy has shrunk to the smallest it has been since World War I under Obama administration, Trump had earlier proposed to increase the size of the Navy’s fleet from its current 272 ships to 350.
Trump said the plan includes a significant investment in both new undersea and surface combatants, and this will offer significant new work for facilities like the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Supporting Trump’s endeavour, the association added that they are also stands ready to work together on policies that remove the uncertainty of sequestration, encourage predictable funding levels and building ships ‘smarter’ and more efficiently.
According to SCA, the private shipbuilding and repair industry in the country supports more than 399,000 jobs, contributing $25.1 billion in labour income and $37.3 billion in U.S. GDP.
Over 5000 suppliers, including mostly small businesses, require predictability and stability in funding for Navy ships to invest in the procurement process, the shipbuilding advocacy organization added.
Meanwhile, supporting Trump’s plan, the US Navy recently said it needs as many as 355 ships, an significant increase from the current goal of 308 warships.
A new report released by the Navy last week, Force Structure Assessment, argued for the expansion of the Navy from its current fleet of 272 over the next 30 years.
Reference: Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA)/ AJOT