By VOICES Staff.

Bath, Maine shipyard General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is a prime example of how the American Maritime industry helps strengthen the economy of New England, research from the University of Southern Maine shows.

The Center for Business and Economic Research at the USM with Bath Iron Works examined how the yard contributed to the Pine Tree State and the New England economy as a whole from 2017-2021 and found the impressive impact of American Maritime’s investments. The study, prepared by Director of the CBER Dr. Ryan Wallace, found that the shipyard’s activities led to $8.4 billion in total economic activity over the last five years and and $1.8 Billion in economic output in 2021 alone. 

“For generations, Bath Iron Works has had a major impact on Maine’s economy and its people, well beyond the Mid-coast region where we are located,” said BIW President Chuck Krugh. “Our employees come from every county in the state and we purchase millions of dollars in goods and services from vendors across Maine.”

Economic Investments and Outputs of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works from 2017-2021
Economic Investments and Outputs of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works from 2017-2021. CREDIT: BIW

The study found that one of the ways that BIW boosts the economy is through job creation. The shipyard’s activities have supported 11,600 direct and indirect jobs. This equals 12% of Maine’s manufacturing workforce as of January 2022. Many of these workers are skilled American craftsmen and women who work in a variety of trades, including welding, electrical work, and carpentry. 

These jobs not only provide a source of income for the employees and their families, but they also contribute $44 million on average annually to the state and local tax base. These tax dollars help fund schools, roads, and other vital services in their community. By building vessels in the United States, communities from Portland to Bath to Bangor benefit from the increased tax revenue American Maritime jobs provide.

“Ensuring a healthy economic climate for businesses like BIW has far reaching implications for the overall prosperity of our state and its people,” Krugh continued.

In addition to providing jobs, BIW also supports a number of local businesses that supply the shipyard with goods and services. This includes everything from raw materials and machinery to food and transportation. These businesses, in turn, employ their own workers, further contributing to the economic health of the region with an estimated $2.7 billion in wages. 

But the economic impact of BIW extends beyond the borders of Maine. The shipyard is a major player in the defense industry, producing advanced naval vessels that are used by the U.S. military around the world like the iconic Arleigh Burke class destroyers and other innovative designs. These ships not only serve to protect the country, but they also help to promote American interests abroad, supporting trade and commerce on a global scale. 

Bath-built Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) sails past a seasonally decorated Bug Light in Casco Bay during Acceptance Trials in December 2022.
The BIW-built Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) in Casco Bay during Acceptance Trials in December 2022. CREDIT: BIW Facebook

“Our team at BIW produces ships that defend our nation, while the work we do also brings prosperity to our state. Investments in BIW have proven to be a win-win for our nation, our communities and our people,” Krugh said. 

Bath Iron Works and the American Maritime industry play a crucial role in the economy of New England. From the vessels built to the goods and services they provide, the nearly 30,000 men and women of American Maritime help drive economic growth and stability in the region.