The Gulf War was a war of high-tech weapons having pinpoint
accuracy and a well trained all-volunteer military that carried out
their mission with precision. Victory in the Gulf War validated the
Reagan administration's arms buildup during the 1980s. It also
brought about the resurgence of the United States as a respected and
credible military power after Vietnam and the failed Iranian hostage
rescue attempt, Desert One. The stealth fighter, smart bombs, and cruise
missiles mesmerized us all, as we sat in front of our television sets
every evening during the war. The American people, as well as people
from around the world, witnessed the power and resolve of the United
States and its allies in protecting their vital interests and national
By all accounts the Gulf War was a tremendous logistical success.
At one point the build-up of forces was described as the equivalent of
performing the Berlin Airlift every six weeks. The amount of personnel
and equipment moved to the Gulf region would be the same as moving the
entire population, cars, trucks, houses, food, and clothing of Oklahoma
City. But with all the success, a glaring weakness in the logistical
pipeline was revealed: the effectiveness of sealift and the maritime
industry's role in supporting the Gulf War. This could be our
Achilles heel in future emergencies or contingencies requiting the
insertion of military forces.
One of the lessons learned as a result of Desert Storm and Desert
Shield was the need for faster sealift. Airlift support worked quite
well and during the first week the Air Force had deployed ten squadrons
of F-15 and F-16 aircraft with support personnel and their equipment,
five more than was expected.(1) Sealift, however, did not go as
smoothly. The Navy's Fast Ship class, ships capable of thirty knots
or better, encountered mechanical problems. The most serious breakdown
was one ship lost its boiler and had to be towed to Spain for
repairs.(2) Other problems included delays with the activation of the
Ready Reserve Fleet, which is kept in different stages of readiness, and
problems with the sourcing of commercial ships to be chartered by the
Military Sealift Command. Mechanical problems delayed shipments by as
much as three weeks or more in the initial stages of the buildup of
forces in the Gulf. In the end, 213 conventional ships using 91 foreign
flag vessels were used during the Gulf War.(3)
In recent years we have witnessed many dramatic changes in the
world, none more profound than the collapse of the Soviet Union and the
end of the Cold War. As a result, the president, through the Department
of Defense with the Congress, has been in the process of reevaluating
force projection strategy and threat assessment. The end of the Cold War
reduced the threat of global conflict though the possibility of regional
conflict remains. Two areas of concern are the continuing situation in
the Gulf and the Korean peninsula. The strategy developed by the
Department of Defense is to have the capability to engage two
contingency operations simultaneously. This requires the ability to
transport two heavy forces using airlift and sealift, with sealift
transporting the bulk of the forces. Speed is vital when projecting
military force in the interest of national security. Current sealift
resources could easily deliver the punch, but do not have the speed to
get to a crisis area early even with proper pre-staging. Airlift
resources have the speed but not the capability to move the heavy forces
needed to respond to a crisis involving armed intervention. It has
become apparent that the American maritime industry's sealift
capability has deteriorated as a result of decades of neglect. Military
planners, especially Iogisticians, must find new and innovative
solutions that will strengthen our sealift capabilities to protect our
nation's vital interests.
The answer military planners and logisticians are looking for may
be found in recent technological developments in the shipping industry.
Several companies have been able to marry jet-ski technology to new hull
designs that are shorter than conventional merchant ships. They also
have the potential of cutting steaming times in half, to as much as four
days across the Atlantic, improving reliability, intermodal, and
commercial viability. Research and development costs associated with the
development of this technology have been privately funded. Limited
capital investment has resulted in the promise of a new High-Speed ship
still on the drawing board. However, two companies have been able to
build prototype models, one by FastShip Atlantic and another by a
Japanese consortium, that have validated the concept of high-speed
vessels and commercial application of these vessels.
"High-Speed Sealift" (HSS) refers to oceangoing cargo
vessels with speed capabilities of approximately 40 knots or greater.
This terminology was selected to specifically distinguish these ships
from what have traditionally been referred to as "Fast Ships."
"Fast Ships," by doctrinal definition, are ships that can
exceed 30 knots, such as the Fast Sealift Ship (FSS) class (formally
called Sea-Land SL-7's). The factors distinguishing FSS vessels
from HSS ships are the use of high technology HSS hulls and engines,
while the former use conventional hulls and power plants.(4)
Tight budgets have forced the Defense Department to change its
procurement strategy in the acquisition of new technology. In the past,
the Defense Department would fund the research and development of new
technology, then transfer that technology to the civilian sector. The
Department of Defense has adopted a new philosophy of buying
off-the-shelf technology with modifications that meet military
requirements and standards. High-Speed ship technology and the building
of vessels capable of 40 knots or better meet the Department of Defense
requirements to deliver heavy combat forces to a crisis area on time.
High-Speed ship technology satisfies the need for speed, but the
likelihood of having a military fleet of High-Speed ships would not be
feasible due to the current budget limitations.
High-Speed ship technology is still very early in the development
stages and has not been fully embraced by the shipping industry.
Shippers have been encouraged by the concept of high-speed technology to
speed up crossing times, but shippers are unlikely to commit themselves
until there has been further study of the economics and proof of higher
reliability. Solutions must be found to stimulate the maritime industry
to make the necessary capital investments in the research and
development of high-speed technology. The Department of Defense, through
the U.S. Transportation Command, and the Congress have adopted a
strategy of bringing together government and private sector resources to
develop this new technology for a High-Speed vessel. This vessel not
only meets the future needs of the military but also is the vessel that
can help lead the American maritime industry into the 21st century.
GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION, PLANS, AND PROGRAMS
The Maritime Security Act
The Maritime Security Act(5) establishes a maritime security
program to ensure that the United States has a fleet of U.S. flag
commercial cargo vessels. These vessels are needed to carry critical
supplies during times of national emergencies or war.
The legislation replaces the existing Operating Differential
Subsidy Program, which, for most liner vessels, expired on December 31,
1997. The new Maritime Security Program authorizes a ten-year program
worth $1 billion with vessel payments capped at $2.1 million per vessel
annually. The legislation authorized 47 American owned, flagged, and
crewed vessels to participate in the Maritime Security Fleet.
The legislation provides that U.S. flag vessels less than fifteen
years of age, owned and operated by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S.
citizens, are eligible to apply for operating agreements under the new
program. Vessels ten years of age or less operating under a foreign flag
could also apply for an agreement, but if accepted into the program,
must be operated under the U.S. flag with U.S. crews.
Companies operating under the Maritime Security Program (Table 1)
may operate vessels only in foreign commerce and not coastwise trade.
Ships operating as part of the program are not restricted to specific
trade routes but may follow cargo without the need to obtain government
approval. Participants in the program must enter into an Emergency
Preparedness Agreement with the Department of Defense (DOD). This
agreement is to provide DOD access to its vessel and non-vessel
resources, terminal facilities and intermodal systems, equipment, and
management services during times of national emergency or contingency.
Operators may replace an older vessel, under the U.S. flag, with a newer
vessel at any time without government approval. Carriers may own and
operate foreign-flag feeder vessels as long as they do not call at U.S.
ports. Carriers may also operate a U.S.-flag vessel over the age of 25
that was built with the aid of the Construction Differential Subsidy in
The Maritime Administration, Department of Defense, and the U.S.
Transportation Command have been working together in the implementation
process. The first step in the process was determining the appropriate
mix of ships to meet force projection requirements. Applicants and their
vessels were reviewed as to their importance in sustaining a presence in
international commerce as well as their contributions to national
security. Particular attention was paid to the sealift needs that could
be filled efficiently by the commercial fleet. The U.S. Transportation
Command was in full agreement with the selection of vessels for the
program. Selection was based on several factors, including intermodal
system capacity; extent of commercial transportation resources; variety
of trading patterns; commercial viability; operator experience; and
vessel size, type, and military utility.(7)
A diverse mix of ships and services represented by the Maritime
Security Fleet gives the Department of Defense the immediate capability
not only to satisfy sustainment requirements but also to fill gaps in
surge capability. The program further contributes to the Department of
Defense Power Projection Strategy, providing a reliable and dependable
source of both sealift and U.S. citizen crews as a resource for the
military to draw upon during contingencies.
Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA)
This is a voluntary program that is part of the revitalization
program. Built on lessons learned from Desert Shield and Desert Storm,
the new agreement houses the mechanism in which carriers will provide
origin-to-destination transportation services during military
contingencies. Secretary of Defense William Cohen formally approved the
VISA program on January 30, 1997.
Within the framework of VISA, a joint planning advisory group was
established to identify potential problem areas for sealift and develop
appropriate solutions. U.S. Transportation Command, the Maritime
Administration, maritime labor, and commercial shipping companies have
worked to ensure a clear understanding of the sealift requirements and
capabilities among the participants.
Benefits for the Department of Defense
Inclusion of the carriers into the Department of Defense planning
process established a precedent and served as the crowning jewel in the
VISA strategy. By using a time-phased plan to provide capacity to meet
varying levels of crisis, carriers can meet ongoing commercial
arrangements during contingencies while concurrently meeting defense
transportation needs. The companies' sophisticated systems for
in-transit visibility also give the Department of Defense a more
effective and efficient method of tracking and directing the movements
of munitions and material from factory to front-line areas.
A U.S. flag fleet enables the Department of Defense to receive
access to a total global, intermodal transportation network at no
additional cost. This includes not only vessels, but logistics
management services, infrastructure, terminals, equipment,
communications, and cargo tracking networks, as well as 20,000 well
trained, professional U.S. citizen seafarers and 22,000 shoreside
employees located throughout the world.
VISA (Table 2) is designed to "promote and facilitate the
Department of Defense's (DOD's) use of existing commercial
integrated intermodal transportation systems and to maximize DOD's
use of commercial transportation resources, while minimizing disruption
to commercial operations. It provides a seamless, time-phased transition
from peace to wartime operations through coordinated, pre-negotiated
contracts for the type and quantity of sealift, when and where
necessary, to deploy and sustain U.S. forces."(8) This is
accomplished by pre-logged agreements and compensation factors, and
jointly planned transportation solutions prior to execution. VISA also
helps avoid costly acquisition and maintenance of containerships in the
Ready Reserve Fleet that may impact crewing requirements.
Center for the Commercial Deployment of Transportation Technologies
This is a congressionally sponsored program that is made up of a
consortium of government, industry, and academic organizations. Its
charter is to identify and demonstrate advanced technologies.
The mission of CCDoTT is to improve national defense by
streamlining throughput and logistic capabilities and to facilitate
national and international trade. It also must forge a strong
government, commercial industry, and academic partnership. In addition,
every effort should be made to eliminate technological, institutional,
and physical impediments to rapid intermodal movement of goods and to
enhance public acceptance of advanced transportation technologies.
The goals of CCDoTT are to support developments in commercial
transportation technologies; build on transportation research and
development, training, education, and technologies from an extensive
foundation of sources; improve military readiness and effectiveness; and
improve the nation's productivity, competitiveness, and balance of
The objectives of CCDoTT are to reduce time and cost of military
deployments; reduce cost and delivery times of commercial intermodal
goods transport, especially high value, time-sensitive goods; foster and
assist deployment of advanced transportation technologies; provide a
stable intermodal transportation infrastructure; and support the
The CCDoTT's charge is prototyping of agile port facilities
operating in combination with high-speed sealift and related rapid
deployment technologies; and improving the capabilities for cargo
tracking and personnel movement plus total asset visibility.
The teamwork approach is used by CCDoTT to work with High-Speed
ship and Agile Port designers. They work with the builders, suppliers,
owners, operators, and users to facilitate development, acceptance, and
operation of dual-use High-Speed ship and Agile Port systems. This
dual-use system will be capable of demonstrating effective operation of
High-Speed ships in concert with Agile Port systems with attendant
terminal, intermodal, infrastructure, and cargo management systems
within as early as five years to support commercial and military cargo
movement. A five-year plan (Table 3) has been developed by the CCDoTT to
improve Department of Defense and commercial goods transport by
* High-Speed Sealift (HSS) vessels.
* Prototype and demonstrate High-Speed ships for commercial and
* Agile Ports (AP) and Transportation Automated Measurement System
(TRAMS) Technologies - Prototype agile port operations in concert with
HSS and TRAMS. Deploy TRAMS at DOD force projection platforms.
* Other rapid deployment technologies - Implement technologies for
delivery of cargo from point of debarkation to the front lines.
MARKET ANALYSIS, CAPACITY, AND SEGMENTATION
Little independent study or research has been conducted to
determine the commercial viability of High-Speed vessels. Market
segmentation and capacity are other areas that also need further study.
Firms engaged in High-Speed ship technology have completed most of the
Naval architect David L. Giles of FastShip Atlantic believes what
shippers need in today's instant satisfaction markets is greater
speed. He believes his new breed of freighters that marries jet-ski
technology to a naval hull design 100 feet shorter than a conventional
super-freighter will satisfy that need. FastShip Atlantic believes its
High-Speed ship design could cut transatlantic transit times in half, to
less than four days. It is planning a crossing time of 98 hours between
Philadelphia and the Belgian Port of Zeebrugge (this compared to an
eight-day crossing by conventional ship). Shipping costs would be twice
as much as ordinary rates for sea freight but the time saved would
justify the higher rates covering the high cost of fuel. By shrinking
in-transit times manufacturers could reduce inventory costs, saving
money even after paying premium rates. Volvo Transport Corporation
believes $300 million could be cut from its inventory by switching to
Traditional shipping giants like Sea Land have not invested in
High-Speed ship technology. Sea Land made the decision that faster ships
were not economically feasible to operate after building eight
"Fast Ships" called SL-7's in 1971 and 1972. Sea Land
eventually sold them to the Navy. Roger Wigen, 3M's transportation
policy manager, says, "There isn't a lot of incentive for
creativity," when rates are determined by the global shipping
cartel that is under antitrust immunity.
The FastShip design has a deep, V-shaped bow and grows flatter,
even slightly concave, toward the stem. This prevents the stern from
squatting down at higher speeds, and virtually eliminates the heaving in
heavy weather that can crack standard hulls. The propulsion system
comprises six General Electric Co. turbines, modified 747 aircraft
engines with a cruising speed of 35 to 37 knots or about 43 miles per
hour. Propellers have been replaced with five waterjets, which suck in
water from inlets beneath the hull and use spinning blades to pump it
out the stem at high speed. Side jets are used to help steer, while the
large middle jet, driven by two turbines, is used only for power.
Shippers are demanding a higher degree of punctuality and
reliability. In North America customers have been exposed to top-quality
services provided by trucking and express delivery companies. Surveys
show that door-to-door transit times between North America and Europe
take fourteen to thirty-five days by conventional ship (Table 4), partly
because of the practice of unloading at several ports. Deliveries
invariably take four to five weeks.
Door-to-door deliveries across the Atlantic by FastShip Atlantic
would take between five to seven days. A High-Speed ship would shuttle
between two ports, carrying only 1,416 20-foot cargo containers, versus
as many as 6,000 with larger container ships. To realize the full
benefits of the High-Speed ship concept, ports would require special
docks. In Europe, Volvo is looking with great interest at what FastShip
Atlantic is doing in its efforts to build this new generation vessel.
They want to halve door-to-door times between Sweden and the U.S. west
coast to just twenty days. British exporters have been encouraged by the
application of new technologies to speed up crossing times. It is
unlikely shippers will commit themselves to the new service until there
have been further studies of the economics and an improved record of
Ships on the drawing board will have a capacity of 1,448 20-foot
container units and are being designed for quick port turnaround times.
The goal is to ensure that every container can leave the terminal within
six hours of the vessel arriving at dockside.
FastShip Atlantic is not alone in High-Speed technology. There is a
Japanese consortium that has tested a small waterjet prototype of a
freighter designed to carry 150 20-foot containers at more than 45
knots. Named the Techno Superliner, this miniship is aimed at short
hauls around Japan and the Asian mainland.
[TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 4 OMITTED]
Maersk Line recently launched a ship capable of carrying 6,000
20-foot containers, arguably the largest container ship yet to sail. The
Regina Maersk is part of a tide of ships joining the world fleet in
recent years. The surge of new ships has signaled a real time test of a
larger, more important debate. Will there be enough business for all the
ships, new and old, that will be sailing over the next few years?
Shipping executives argue there will be. To support their arguments,
they point to the emerging trade centers and increased demand for
overseas transportation. They maintain demand will rise proportionally
as capacity is added.
"Over-capacity has always been a periodic issue and the trade
has always been able to absorb the incoming tonnage," says Tommy
Thomsen, president of Maersk Inc. There appears to be less trade than
had been anticipated, causing a flurry of rate cutting in the Atlantic
and Pacific trade lanes. The problem seems to be getting worse with the
arrival of new ships. This issue of overcapacity appears to be a
short-term problem usually lasting two to three years and creating a
downward pressure on rates. During contract negotiations, shippers often
take advantage of the perception of over-supply to force better terms
from carriers looking to secure volume under long-term contract.
Over-capacity gives the perception of less demand, which may result in
lower freight rates. Many carriers support the argument that there will
be enough business available to profitably support an increase in the
number of container ships.
There has been a basic change in the way businesses view their
supply and sourcing options. Globalization is no longer a buzzword. With
some businesses, it is standard practice to shift production and
sourcing to those areas that offer the best-cost advantage at a given
time. As this trend continues, surface shipping volumes are likely to
increase. Many Japanese businesses have addressed increasing costs at
home by moving production to Southeast Asia. As a result intra-Asia
container traffic to and from Japan has increased about 10 percent a
year over the last three years, according to estimates from Drewry
Shipping Consultants Ltd. in London. The continued shifting of sourcing
and production throughout the world to take advantage of cost factors is
likely to increase among businesses looking to find competitive
advantages, and shipping volume will likely increase as a result.
The emergence of trade centers in Southeast Asian countries, India,
and China will help to increase overseas trade volume. Industry analysts
and trade indicators point to these areas as production powerhouses,
which bodes well for ship lines. Their antiquated infrastructure is more
likely to utilize ships than alternative modes of transportation that
require a more sophisticated infrastructure. China and India have
numerous ports which could be adapted for High-Speed operations.
Southeast Asia, with the exception of Singapore, is also beginning to
feel constrained as traffic demand begins to stretch the limits of
existing container facilities. Several nations are developing plans to
expand or create new facilities. Until such facilities are upgraded,
these areas will continue to be served through transshipment operations
where one or two large ports act as hubs for feeder services that
disperse cargo locally.
It is important to note that trade demand and container ship
availability is not one-to-one. Typically excess capacity is needed to
allow liner companies to shift empty container equipment and maintain
various port pools. Container traffic tends to move in cycles. [TABULAR
DATA FOR TABLE 5 OMITTED] There are peak times when vessel operators
have to turn away cargo or delay it for several voyages. How much higher
should container vessel capacity be above demand? Estimates range from 8
percent to 15 percent, depending on the operators and trades involved.
Shipping firms have taken advantage of a favorable shipbuilding
market to place orders for new vessels. At the same time, container ship
demolition has been negligible for the last two years. The current world
container ship fleet stands at 4.9 million TEUs, according to statistics
from Containerization International. About 772,000 TEUs will be added by
early 1998, about a 17 percent increase.(10)
Markets may be segmented using cargo priorities (Table 5). Cargo
that is time-critical, has high value, and must be delivered within two
to three days would be classed as high priority. Cargo that is
time-sensitive, has high to medium value, and must be delivered within
four to nine days would be medium priority. Low-priority cargo would
have a medium to low value and a delivery date between ten and thirty
days. The medium priority freight market would include shipments that
need to be delivered faster than by conventional cargo ships, but at a
lower rate than air freight. Also, medium priority freight would include
cargo that exceeds aircraft weight and size limitations depending on the
desired delivery date.
The operating cost of four hull designs is considered (Table 6) for
High-Speed sealift vessels. A model of a typical commercial operation
was developed and the parameters were [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 6 OMITTED]
the same for all the hull designs:
* Transatlantic route = 2900 nautical miles
* Total annual freight = 850,000 short tons
* 20 years operation
* 20 percent operation profit margin
* Year-round operations except for two weeks per year for scheduled
All four hull designs are cost-effective. Key cost-effectiveness
criteria require the cost to fall between that of sea freight and air
freight. The highest rate for air was $2.75 per pound and the lowest
rate for air was $0.50 per pound. The rate for large, heavy freight-like
containers is closer to the higher rate for air. Therefore, all hull
designs are believed to be relatively cost-effective.
When compared to airlift at $2.26 per pound, with one- or two-day
delivery time, it is difficult to determine cost-effectiveness between
conventional sealift costs and delivery times. The conclusions of this
study recommend that the concept of High-Speed ships be promoted to
commercial entrepreneurs to generate interest within the industry. In
addition, financial guarantees by the government may trigger required
capital investment to get started.
There is currently a modal gap for international shipments between
air transportation (two to three days) and conventional ship (ten to
thirty days), which may be filled by the High-Speed ship technology.
Figure 1 incorporates average cost per mile for each mode with the cost
to carry inventory. The modal gap falls between days four through nine.
Filling this modal gap will open up avenues of distribution for products
that currently cannot shoulder the higher cost of air or survive the
longer transit times of conventional ships. In addition, shipments by
High-Speed ships will likely take away a significant part of the third
day air volume due to lower cost.
The current set of world economic conditions indicates that this is
an opportune time for U.S. firms to re-enter the global commercial
shipbuilding market. U.S. labor rates are competitive with those of
other shipbuilding nations, and a significant percentage of the
world's gross tonnage is currently over fifteen years old,
necessitating replacement during the next two decades. Many governments
are promoting international trade, causing world markets to expand and
leading to an increased demand for waterborne movement of high value and
The High-Speed monohull design is a further step toward re-entry
and active participation by the U.S. shipbuilding industry in global
commercial shipbuilding markets. A proven High-Speed monohull design
will provide substantial assurance that ship operators will be able to
significantly improve delivery speed, increase reliability, and reduce
operating costs. This can be accomplished by applying High-Speed ship
technology to a new ocean transportation market. This assurance will be
essential in securing U.S. commercial shipbuilding contracts that could
help to offset anticipated downturns in Department of Defense new
Ship availability for national defense is vital to national
security. A strong merchant fleet is critical to the defense of our
nation and its vital interests. High-Speed monohull ships could be
readily adapted to support specialized national defense needs in time of
national emergency, including rapid movement of critical supplies in
RO/RO and/or container modes, as well as High-Speed troop deployment.
Industrial base preservation is another area of national security.
U.S. shipbuilders engaged in global commercial shipbuilding markets will
ensure maintenance of shipbuilding and repair capabilities, skills, and
facilities. The shipbuilding industrial infrastructure, including the
supplier base, is a vital resource for national mobilization as well as
for maintaining the health of the national economy. U.S. shipyards that
successfully participate in international commercial shipbuilding will
improve the shipbuilding capabilities available for military programs
and will help to ensure that these resources are available to meet
national emergency surge requirements.
The technology that will be developed has potential application to
strategic supply and support ships, as well as for future naval surface
combat ships. Key features of the design with potential national defense
* speeds of 40-50 knots, improved seakeeping, and significant
* potential for advanced propulsions and electric drive
* potential for modular construction and machinery packaging
* reduced construction times and costs
* improved construction techniques through common configurations
Finally, U.S. shipbuilding industry participation in global
commercial shipbuilding markets will result in the creation and
retention of thousands of high-quality, high-skill employment
opportunities for U.S. workers.
Faster Port Facility Requirements Are Critical
Traditional ships spend only 43 percent of their total time at sea.
The remaining 57 percent is spent at port loading and unloading. Faster
speed over the seas will be for naught unless port turnaround times are
shortened. Laine and Vepsalainen(11) simulations support the concept
that "the central element of creating value in shipping is the
round trip frequency. Raising this frequency increases the income and
decreases the unit costs by allocating the fixed costs, such as capital
investments and labor costs, to a greater number of trips. Faster
vessels draw greater advantage from rapid turnaround in port than does
FastShip Atlantic utilizes Alicon (airlift container), a train of
up to eighteen large metal pallets pulled by a single tractor buoyed by
a cushion of air.(12) Alicon supports pallets on a 60-millimeter-thick
cushion of compressed air escaping out of doughnut-like rubber supports,
or "bearings." This system will enable stevedores to load and
unload cargoes in four to six hours (or five times faster than when
using conventional cranes) instead of one or two days. The
company's overall goal is to shorten door-to-door delivery times
for goods from the typical fourteen to thirty-five days to five days.
The Maritime Security Act has strengthened the U.S. Merchant Marine
Fleet and provided vessel owners with more flexibility. Participants in
the program are no longer restricted to specific trade routes or
replacing vessels without government approval.
The VISA program is another innovative approach to stimulate
interest in the commercial market and enable Department of Defense
access to vital sealift capability and resources. Another positive
aspect of these programs is the partnership between the government and
vessel owners and operators. The government can now focus on force
projection and High-Speed precision sustainment.
If properly funded, the CCDoTT could play a significant role in the
testing, development, and promotion of High-Speed ships in the
commercial market. Also, its five-year plan holds potential for enabling
the U.S. to re-enter the global shipbuilding market as an industry
The economic viability of High-Speed ships requires further
independent study to determine if there is a market for High-Speed
service. Unanswered questions include (1) how High-Speed service will
stimulate demand for shipping new commodities and (2) how High-Speed
service would compete with air and conventional sealift service. The
potential advantages of High-Speed vessel operations suggest that
research focusing on these questions should be pursued quickly.
Table 2. VISA - Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement(14)
* Assure DOD access to critical sealift capability for national
security contingency requirements.
* Contribute to a robust and healthy U.S. merchant marine.
* Balance defense and economic elements of civilian transportation
for national security.
Table 3. High-Speed Sealift (HSS) Vessels Five-Year Plan
FY 98 Year One:
* Update candidates and models.
* Obtain approval of specifications and NDFs.
* Establish bid specification criteria.
* Develop models and simulations of shipyard, select and design
shipbuilding test bed.
* Review, select, and coordinate regulatory construction standards.
* Develop national inventory of candidate shipyards.
FY 99 Year Two:
* Finalize specifications based on technologies.
* Select HSS concept (hull, power, and configuration).
* Develop preliminary HSS design; also develop a rapid shipboard
* Implement and demonstrate initial set of shipbuilding
technologies in test bed.
* Continue refinement of models.
FY 2000 Year Three:
* Develop a contract HSS design.
* Issue RFP and award contract.
* Begin HSS construction.
* Demonstrate and test individual HSS shipbuilding technologies in
* Apply models to ongoing and new programs.
FY 2001-2002 Years Four and Five:
* Continue HSS construction and conduct operational tests and
delivery of HSS.
* Demonstrate dual-use (DOD and commercial) HSS in concert with
agile port in joint military exercise and commercial application.
* Demonstrate integrated shipbuilding technologies in test bed.
* Transfer fabrication technologies to shipyards.
1 H. Norman Schwarzkopf, General, & Peter Petre, (1992). It
Doesn't Take a Hero. New York Bantam Books.
2 Michael L. Gordon, and Bernard E. Trainor, General (1995). The
Generals' War. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
3 FastShip Atlantic slide presentation. Source: Vickerman, Zachary,
4 High-Speed Sealift/Agile Port Operational Concept Document.
Prepared by the CCDoTT.
5 H.R. 1350/Public Law 104-239, approved October 8, 1996 as the
Maritime Security Act of 1996. (110 Star. 3118).
6 Shippers should factor in consideration of increased insurance
costs when moving cargo on overage ships.
7 Albert J. Herberger, Vice Admiral, (1997, April). "The
Maritime Security Act." Defense Transportation Journal, pp. 1-8.
8 From the Annual Report of the Maritime Administration MARAD) for
the fiscal year (FY) which ended on September 30, 1995, submitted to
Congress in accordance with Section 208 of the Merchant Marine Act of
1936, as amended.
9 Center for the Commercial Deployment of Transportation
Technologies. Prepared by Dr. J. Richard Williams and Lt. General
Kenneth R. Wykle (Ret.) for a NCAMA briefing for USTRANSCOM February 25,
10 Allen R. Wastler, (1996, March 5). "Looking for a Full
Load." The Journal of Commerce. p. 1A.
11 Jouni T. Laine, and Ari P. J. Vepsalainen, "Economies of
Speed in Sea Transportation," International Journal of Physical
Distribution and Logistics Management, 24(8): pp. 33-41.
12 Steven Ashley, "Next-Generation Freighter." Mechanical
Engineering, 117(9): pp. 90-93.
13 Albert J. Herberger, (1997, April). "The Maritime Security
Act." Defense Transportation Journal. p. 8.
14 Albert J. Herberger, (1997, April). "The Maritime Security
Act." Defense Transportation Journal. p. 8.
15 Joseph Weber, (1995, September 18). "Warp Speed on the High
Seas." Business Week. p. 155.
16 The SEV Concept Litton, Ingalls Shipbuilding. Prepared for NCAMA
briefing to USTRANSCOM February 25, 1997.
17 An assessment of Fast Sealift Ships. Prepared by Band, Lavis
& Associates, Inc.
Mr. Farris, EM-AST&L, is assistant professor of logistics,
University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203-1396; Mr. Welch is
operations coordinator, Roadway Package Service, an FDX Company,
Gulfport, Mississippi 39532-4252.
Table 1. Maritime Security Program Contractors(13)
American President Lines, Ltd. 9 vessels
Central Gulf Lines, Inc. 3 vessels
Waterman Steamship Corp. 4 vessels
Crowley American Transport, Inc. 3 vessels
First American Bulk Carrier Group Corp. 2 vessels
Farrell Lines Incorporated 3 vessels
Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., Inc. 3 vessels
Maersk Line, Ltd. 4 vessels
OSG Car Carriers, Inc. 1 vessel
Sea-Land Service, Inc. 15 vessels
Total 47 vessels
Large containerships [greater than] 3,000 TEU 21
Medium containerships [less than] 3,000 TEU 15
COMBO CONT-RO/RO 3
Car truck carriers 3
128,661 total TEUs
1,360,268 total sq. ft. RO/RO capacity
2,033,881 total DWT