Small Shipyard Grant Program Helps the Great Lakes Group Grow Shipyard Over the Years
Addition of a New 820C Marine Travelift Boat Hoist Will Upgrade Yard’s Lifting Capacity Again
The Great Lakes Group will be adding an 820C Marine Travelift mobile boat hoist to their Cleveland, Ohio facility in early 2021. The new machine, which will increase their lifting capacity, was made possible, in part, due to the Group receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD)’s Small Shipyard Grant Program.
The Maritime Administration’s Small Shipyard Grant Program is designed to support shipyard projects that make capital and related improvements or provide training for workers in shipbuilding, ship repair, and associated industries. Supporting these types of projects drives efficiency, competitive operations, and quality ship construction, repair, and reconfiguration across the industry. In 2020, the total amount available for grant awards was $19.6 million.
The Great Lakes Group is very familiar with the Small Shipyard Grant program. “We have submitted an application every year since the program’s inception,” says Joe Starck, President of the Great Lakes Towing Company.
The Great Lakes Group’s headquarters is located in Cleveland, Ohio. The Group includes The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard, Tugz International LLC, and Soo Linehandling Services, Inc. Great Lakes Shipyard is a destination small shipyard on the Great Lakes for all types of drydocking, maintenance, repair, modification, and re-powers of all different types of commercial and other municipal crafts. The yard also provides new vessel construction services and has built more than 20 vessels over the last ten years.
Grant Impact & Success
In 2009, the Great Lakes Group was awarded funds through the Small Shipyard Grants for use toward new equipment for improving shipyard efficiency and competitiveness. With the funds from the grant program The Great Lakes Towing Company was able to add a 700C Marine Travelift mobile boat hoist to their facility. At the time of delivery, the 700C, which has a lifting capacity of 1,540,000 lbs., was the largest hoist on the Great Lakes and has continued to bring countless jobs and opportunities to the region over the years.
The company’s shipyard (dba Great Lakes Shipyard) currently operates a 700C and a 75BFMII, but with the announcement of the recent 2020 MARAD grant awards, they will be able to upgrade the 700C to an 820C Marine Travelift. With delivery expected in early 2021, the facility will be increasing their lifting capacity from 1,540,000 lbs. to 1,804,000 lbs.
“With the upgrade to the 820C unit we will be able to expand our market to include larger integrated tug-barge (ITB) unit tugs, a few bigger barges, and potentially the LAKE GUARDIAN, the largest research vessel on the Great Lakes. In addition, it renews our most critical piece of equipment,” says Starck.
“These grants are critical to our efficiency and competitiveness. The program can help with the long-term success of any yard,” continued Starck. He encourages other shipyards who are interested to apply for the opportunity, “The process is not for everyone. The matching funds are a real commitment. But, if you’re ready for that, give it a shot!”
Grant Application Process
A total of 24 U.S. small shipyards received grants through the program this year. If the program is funded again next year, as proposed, the key to having a successful application will once again be preparation.
To be eligible for a grant through the program you must meet the following criteria:
- Shipyard facility must have less than 1,200 production employees working at the site
- Provide repair or new construction service to workboat customers (i.e. tugs, tows, fishing boats, and ferries) greater than 40 feet in length and/or non-commercial vessels (i.e., yachts) greater than 100 feet in length
- Utilize funds to modernize equipment and facilities, boost training for employees and help improve efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness
The Small Shipyard Grant Collation has partnered with champions in Congress to ensure the program continues in 2021. With an estimated 300 shipyards operating throughout the country, the process is competitive. Each year MARAD announces the grant program funding details and then applications are typically due in six to eight weeks.
“The process is fairly straightforward each year. The time from announcement to due date was about a month and a half, “explains Starck. “Awards were announced approximately two months later. Once awarded, each successful yard is permitted two years to execute.”
How to Get Started
Thinking about pursuing a MARAD Small Shipyard Grant in early 2021? Now is the time to start gathering your application materials and planning. If you or a marina/shipyard you know would be a good candidate for the grant program you can find the information you need to get started on the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition website here.