FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 MAR 3-97Thursday, January 30, 1997            Contact: John Swank                                         Tel.:  (202) 366-5807  

Continuing to bolster the international competitiveness of the resurgent U.S. shipbuilding industry, U.S. Maritime Administrator Albert J. Herberger today signed a letter of commitment with COSCO Line (America), Inc., for a federal financing guarantee to aid in financing the construction of four container vessels for export.

The vessels will be built by Alabama Shipyard, Inc., Mobile, Ala. Each will be able to carry 1,432 20-foot-long shipping containers. Delivery is scheduled for 1999.

The vessels will operate in international trade. This project is valued at $157 million and the ship financing guarantee will cover $138 million.

This is significant recognition by a premier international shipping line that America can effectively compete in the international market, Maritime Administrator Herberger said. It also is the first time that the Peoples Republic of China and the United States have entered into a ship construction agreement. We applaud the company s vision and faith in our industry and look forward to a lasting partnership, he said.

The COSCO Group is one of the largest shipping entities in the world, with more than 600 vessels and 300 weekly sailings. COSCO Line (America), Inc., is a newly formed subsidiary of the China Ocean Shipping Company Americas, Inc., a California corporation. COSCO Line (America), Inc., intends to charter the vessels to COSCO Container Lines.

In 1993, President Clinton announced a five-part program to strengthen the American shipbuilding industry. As part of that program, President Clinton and Congress expanded a ship-financing program which previously had been available only to American vessel owners.

Under the ship financing program administered by the Maritime Administration, funds are secured in the private sector with repayment guaranteed by the government.


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