Accession Number:



An Evaluation of Maritime Policy in Meeting the Commercial and Security Needs of the United States

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This report evaluates the adequacy of current maritime policy in meeting the commercial, economic, security and environmental needs of the United States in the next three decades. The report assesses ability of the maritime transportation system and maritime policy to cope with increasing trade volumes. The evaluation is conducted in the context of a long-term forecast of the foreign trade of the United States through the year 2038. The forecast and the participation of the United States in global trade are presented in sections I-III. Section IV describes current federal role, and especially the role of the Maritime Administration, in the areas of port development, shipbuilding, national security, taxation, labor and safety laws, the environment, vessel operations, maritime education, technological improvements and the Marine Highway Initiative. Where appropriate, the policies are assessed for meeting the current and future commercial, security and environmental needs of the nation. The section describes which policies are contributing to sustaining the competitiveness of the United States in the global maritime industry and which are hindering or failing to support such competitiveness. Section V then describes the obstacles to reform in maritime policies. Section VI explores options for reforms to maritime policies that are not meeting the commercial or other needs of the nation as well as the possible consequences of these reforms. The findings of this report lead to the overall conclusion that the current body of policies is only supportive of domestic maritime trades. Policy is not supportive of U.S. participation in international trades. The U.S.-flag oceangoing fleet has been in decline relative to the fleets of other maritime nations. Building ships in the U.S. and operating U.S.-flag ships is more costly than building or operating ships in other nations. Possible reforms can lend more support to the U.S. maritime industry.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement: