MARAD Will Grant Nearly $20 Million to Small Shipyards in 2023

MARAD Small Shipyard grants
Last year Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding received a grant to support the modernization of its graving dock pumps (file photo)

Published Jan 20, 2023 3:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has opened the application period for its annual Small Shipyard Grant Program. Once again this year, the U.S. federal budget includes approximately $20 million in funding to be awarded in grants to help modernize small U.S. shipyards and train their workforce.

This marks the fifteenth year for the program, which has awarded a total of approximately $282 million in 323 grants to smaller shipyards around the U.S. To qualify a shipyard has to have fewer than 1,200 production employees. The grants can be used to purchase equipment or provide employee training. In addition, these grants can support the purchase of American-made manufacturing equipment that support a wide range of jobs throughout the U.S.’s manufacturing base.

“Small shipyards play vital roles in their local economies and our national economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With these funds, we are helping small shipyards across the country train their workers, modernize their equipment, and improve their operations.” 

According to the program details posted on the MARAD website, a total of $20.8 million is currently available for Small Shipyard Grants. The two criteria used in selecting the grants are either to “make capital and related improvements to qualified shipyard facilities that will be effective in fostering efficiency; competitive operations; and quality ship construction, repair, and reconfiguration” and for providing training for workers in shipbuilding, ship repair, and associated industries. 

MARAD warns that the number of applications will likely exceed the funds available and that only a small percentage of applications will be funded. Historically, the program has selected roughly 15 to 30 applications to receive funding and the average grant amount has been approximately $1 million. Applications for this year’s grants are due by February 27, 2023.

“Small shipyards are essential to the U.S. maritime industry and critical to ensuring that we have a resilient industrial base,” said Maritime Administrator, Ann Phillips. “These shipyards are an economic pillar, strengthening our maritime industry and the communities along and near our nation’s ports and waterways, and employing thousands of Americans, who ensure the nation maintains expertise and skills critical to our economic and national security.” 

In July 2022, DOT announced $19.6 million in grant awards to 24 small shipyards in 19 states through the Program. The largest grants included in the 2022 awards were each over $1 million going to four shipyards in Maryland, Mississippi, Washington state, and Wisconsin. The two largest grants at approximately $1.2 million were awarded to Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland, WA to support the purchase and installation of a one-sided welder to include a material handling conveyor system, transitional magnetic bed, and Fincantieri Marine Group Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, WI, to support the modernization of their graving dock pumps.

Smaller awards ranging between $300,000 and just under $1 million went to a total of 19 shipyards. Most of the funds are used to buy new equipment or to upgrade the yard’s capabilities. A full list of all the grants is online at Marad.