1 6. Shipbuilding at lower cost.—The phenomenal growth of our shipyards and the marvelous record of output may open the way to introducing in the ship building business some of the economies of our large factories. Our yards may yet be able to produce ships more cheaply than foreign yards, for the same reason that our highly paid mechanics produce type writers, automobiles, sewing machines, locomotives, cheaper and better and in greater amount than the workmen of Europe can produce them.
The "standardized" and the "fabricated" ships are a step in this direction. The Isherwood ship is an in novation which may place the American yard in a more favorable position. Its construction is charac terized by the greater distances between the transverse members of the hull than those found in standard ships, while the necessary stiffness is supplied by large numbers of beams running the length of the ship. This makes possible the building of a ship of almost unlimited length without increasing the beam or depth, while the weight of steel per ton of cargo space is considerably less than customary. This provides a more favorable ratio between deadweight capacity and gross Improvements of this type may favorably affect the cost of construction and of operation of the American built ship. By introducing into our bar hors the same element of efficiency which characterizes our industries the cost of operation may be still fur ther reduced. It is reasonable to express the belief that this increased efficiency in building and operation may more than offset the handicap of high wages and stringent sanitary laws.
17. Canadian. Shipping.—The Canadian merchant marine prior to the war was in very much the same condition as the American. Not over 10 per cent of the total overseas commerce was carried in Canadian bottoms. On December 31, 1918, Canada had 1,01G, 778 net tons of which 555,983 net tons represented steam vessels.
The reasons for the undeveloped condition of the Canadian merchant marine are similar to those re sponsible for the American decline. The Canadian government now gives aid to its merchant marine by means of mail subsidies, which amounted in 1917 to $1,990,582. Subsidies are also granted to companies building and operating dry docks. During the year 1918 the shipbuilding contracts placed by the Imperial Munitions Board totaled $70,000,000. This included the building of 45 steel and 58 wooden ships aggregat ing 360,000 tons. The Department of Marine has also entered upon a shipbuilding program, having let contracts for 39 ships to total 233,350 tons.
In 1919 a state merchant fleet of some 20 ships ag gregating 80,000 tons was turned out from Canadian yards for the government, to act as an ocean feeder for the National RailwaYs. Forty other vessels are un der contract. The total tonnage when completed will consist of some 60 vessels of 320,000 tons, built at a total cost of about $60,000,000.