Shipbuilding - contemporary

How Giant Ships Are Built

 New York Times photoessay, 17 June, 2020


As was the case at the turn of the 20th century, most of America’s international trade (and in the pre-airplane era, travel too) is/was handled by ships constructed outside the United States. Today (2020), 90% of global shipbuilding occurs in China, Japan and South Korea. 124 US shipyards remain active, however, due in part to legal requirements that “people and goods moving between American ports be carried on ships owned and operated by U.S. citizens and built domestically.” These yards employ some 400 thousand people, because (now, as a century and more ago) “despite the scale of the yards and immensity of the ships, much of the work happens at human scale.”


San Diego’s year-‘round 24-7 NASSCO shipyard builds cargo vessels used for trade between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii. 13 million tons of cargo (including 88 percent of all the state’s food) arrive annually in Hawaii.