Shipping: A Chip at the Barnacles

In its efforts to doctor the ailing U.S. merchant marine, the Government has often proved as ineffectual as the barnacle-crusted maritime industry itself. Transportation Secretary Alan Boyd not long ago virtually threw up his hands over the prospect of winning general agreement on a plan to renovate the aging U.S. flag fleet, whose dwindling capacity has been strained by the pressure of supplying the Viet Nam war. After months of contentious hearings, the Federal Maritime Commission, however, has just approved a stride toward greater efficiency. By a 3-to-2 vote, the commission authorized the merger of three West Coast companies...

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