A USD 324.6 million Title XI loan guarantee has been approved to TOTE Shipholdings to finance the construction of two container ships that will utilize liquefied natural gas (LNG) as propulsion fuel, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on Monday.
The Title XI Loan Guarantee program promotes the growth and modernization of U.S. shipyards and the U.S. merchant marine by ensuring the U.S. vessels are manufactured in U.S shipyards by U.S. workers.
“This is proof-positive that when we work to build America’s green energy economy, we can directly support the creation of meaningful jobs, supporting the President’s goal to strengthen America’s middle class,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This one action significantly decreases emissions, supports jobs from one coast to the other, bolsters the nation’s manufacturing base, and continues growing our economy.”
The vessels will be constructed at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) in San Diego, California. Construction of the vessels will generate 600 jobs at NASCCO, and once in service, the two new vessels will provide for 60 new U.S. merchant mariner jobs.
“The shipbuilding industry contributes more than $36 billion to our national economy, creates jobs, and strengthens local economies,” noted MARAD Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen.
According to the announcement, the vessels are expected to be the most environmentally friendly containerships in the world, with engines that reduce the discharge of particulates to well below the levels mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Slated for delivery in 2015 and 2016, TOTE will operate the vessels in Jones Act trade between the Port of Jacksonville and Puerto Rico, transporting containers, automobiles and other cargoes.