Impact of U.S. Government Food Aid Reforms on the U.S. Shipping Industry: Preliminary Results

17 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2015 Last revised: 23 Apr 2015

See all articles by Wayne Ferris

Wayne Ferris

George Mason University - School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs

Phillip Thomas

George Mason University - School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs

Date Written: February 20, 2015

Abstract

George Mason University (GMU), School of Policy, Government and International Affairs (SPGIA), is conducting a study of the impact of proposed reforms of USAID and USDA food aid programs on the U.S. shipping industry. Preliminary results suggest that food aid reforms will not significantly impact the shipping industry, the U.S. agricultural economy, or the economy more generally. Some U.S.-flag oceangoing merchant ships and the mariners who crew them might be affected. The Maritime Administration and the Department of Defense have raised concerns that any reduction in the number of mariners could affect the effectiveness of the Navy's surge fleet in the event of a war. We found that data on available mariners is inadequate. Preliminary results also indicate that the current policy of food aid cargo preference has hampered the ability of food assistance programs to deliver needed aid, has not benefited industry substantially, and has failed to erase setbacks experienced by the shipping industry in recent years. Therefore, this report recommends that Congress eliminate food aid cargo preference. It further recommends that the Maritime Administration and Department of Defense provide adequate data and analysis on whether there are sufficient mariners to help man the Navy's surge fleet. And, it recommends that the Maritime Administration's development of a National Maritime Strategy include cost benefit analyses of any proposals to subsidize the addition of more U.S.-flag oceangoing merchant vessels to the U.S. flag foreign trade fleet.

Keywords: cargo preference, international food aid, international shipping competitiveness, merchant marine, mariners, naval surge fleet, national security

Suggested Citation

Ferris, Wayne and Thomas, Phillip, Impact of U.S. Government Food Aid Reforms on the U.S. Shipping Industry: Preliminary Results (February 20, 2015). GMU School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 15-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567548 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2567548

Wayne Ferris (Contact Author)

George Mason University - School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs ( email )

Founders Hall
3351 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Phillip Thomas

George Mason University - School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs ( email )

Founders Hall
3351 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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