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SCA Weekly Report | November 2 - 6, 2020

Shipbuilders Council of America

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Washington, DC 20001



SCA Weekly Report | November 2 - 6, 2020





Key Members Win Reelection

While the Presidential race is still too close to call, several key legislators to the SCA won reelection on Tuesday including:


  • Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR): As chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Congressman DeFazio oversees all maritime transportation and is a champion for the Jones Act.
  • Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA): Congressman Wittman serves as the Co-Chair to the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus and also serves as the ranking member to the critical House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee.
  • Senator Susan Collins (R-ME): Senator Collins is a vocal advocate for the shipbuilding industrial base and also serves as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee which funds critical agencies including the Maritime Administration.
  • (Projected) Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK): Senator Sullivan is a vocal Jones Act supporter and serves on two key committees: Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee. Senator Sullivan is also the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.


McConnell and Pelosi Both Signal Importance of COVID Relief Legislation and Government Funding in Lame Duck

In comments made following the election, both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signaled their commitment to passing additional COVID relief legislation and funding the government beyond December 11th. Coronavirus relief talks have stalled since the summertime, though Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have insisted they have made progress in recent months. Meanwhile, the virus has killed more than 230,000 Americans and millions remain unemployed — with an even worse economic hit expected over the winter as more people are forced indoors.


In one sign of the enormous political hurdle ahead, Democrats and Republicans still cannot agree on a price tag for the stimulus package, and it’s unclear if a lame duck session will only contribute to the stalemate. McConnell added that a coronavirus relief package and keeping the government funded past the December 11th deadline will be the top priorities for the Senate, which will come back to Washington Monday.




GAO: Navy Needs to Consider More Factors to Better Understand Ship Maintenance Delays

A recent Navy report on ship maintenance looked at how factors like yard capacity affect on-time ship repairs but didn’t consider more operational factors such as how well a ship’s crew can contribute to the maintenance work, according to a recent government watchdog report. While the Government Accountability Office in a recent report concluded that the Navy analyzed how it oversees ship depot maintenance when seeking to understand its maintenance delays, GAO claims the service did not evaluate other relevant aspects.


“We found that the Navy’s July 2020 report identified two key causes and several contributing factors of maintenance delays for aircraft carriers, surface ships, and submarines. However, the Navy’s report focused only on causes and factors of delays related to the management of depot-level maintenance at the public and private shipyards, rather than also considering causes and factors originating in the acquisition process or as a consequence of operational decisions,” the GAO report reads.




Chevron and Exxon Shrink Spending as Coronavirus Cuts Demand

U.S. oil majors, Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp, cut spending aggressively in the third quarter in a race to offset weak trends in fuel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In common with others in the sector, the two are laying off a substantial portion of their workforce and expect to cut costs further as they try to reverse years of weak stock performance, worsened by the impact of movement restrictions. U.S. oil prices have dropped 41% this year as the coronavirus forced billions of people into lockdowns.





Remainder of US Cruises for 2020 Canceled

The trade association representing 95% of global ocean-going cruise ships says its members will maintain the voluntary suspension of cruise ship operations in the U.S. through the end of the year. Cruise Lines International Association members include brands of Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, the three largest cruise ship groups. Each made their own separate announcements related to suspending U.S. cruises through the end of the year on Monday. The voluntary suspension comes less than a week after the U.S. CDC issued a framework guidance to resume cruise operations in earnest despite surging cases and recent warnings from government scientists that cruise ship travel exacerbates the spread of COVID-19. The CDC’s No Sail Order, which was first issued in March and later expanded multiple times, expired on October 31.


Cargill to Add Giant Sails to Bulkers

Cargill, the world’s biggest agricultural commodities trader, plans to harness wind power by fixing massive wing sails to some of its cargo fleet of bulk ships to reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. The wing sails will be installed first on mid-sized tanker ships that carry edible oils, biofuels or ethanol. If successful, they could then be adapted for dry bulk carriers hauling grains and oilseeds. This is not the first time Cargill has tried to use wind for its modern cargo ships. Back in 2011 it attached giant wind kites to vessels in another joint venture it hoped would cut fuel use and emissions.


Golden Ray Cutting Awaits Weather Window

The work to cut up and remove the Golden Ray from St. Simons Sound, Georgia is about to kick into high gear as crews await a weather window and deal with some last-minute issues at the site. An update earlier this week said they are closely monitoring the threat of severe weather associated with Tropical Storm Eta. Otherwise, they are working to identify a weather window for the cutting and lifting to begin. Meanwhile, on-site crews are working on addressing excessive chafing which was occurring in the mooring lines used to secure the heavy lift vessel that has been modified to perform the cutting and lifting operation.


JAXPORT Reports down Year due to Pandemic

Earlier this week, the Jacksonville Port Authority highlighted what they termed an overall steady performance for the port’s fiscal year despite the strong impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. In total, the port which handles a broad range of cargos, reported a nine percent decline in general cargo volumes. 



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paula Zorensky on the SCA staff.