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Charleston Naval Shipyard

Charleston Naval Shipyard is on the Cooper River in the city of North Charleston, SC. Established in 1901, this yard hosted significant shipbuilding activities during World War II. An ammunition depot was located upriver. In 1945, the Navy Department reorganized the various activities at Charleston by creating Naval Base, Charleston. The navy yard became a component of the base. Much effort was spent in the early postwar years disposing of surplus materials. The base became a major decommissioning and storage location for returning ships. The ammunition depot was placed in maintenance status. However, Charleston remained active as an overhaul facility. In 1948, it was designated as a submarine repair and overhaul yard. The shipyard also activated numerous mothballed vessels for use during the Korean conflict. By 1951, the number of workers employed by the shipyard nearly doubled to over 8,000.

In the late 195Os, new facilities for a Naval Mine Craft Base, Mine Warfare School, and Fleet Training Center were located on the site of a former Naval Air Station just south of the main base. Also in the late 195Os, the Navy decided to move two destroyer squadrons to Charleston. The ammunition depot also became home to a Polaris missile submarine weapons facility. During the 197Os, the yard was cited for low productivity. Management efforts picked up the pace. The impact of the end of the Vietnam War was reduced as Charleston picked up work from the closed Boston Navy Yard.

The Charleston Naval Shipyard was a US Department of Navy facility that repaired, overhauled, and maintained Navy ships, including nuclear-powered ships. Drydocks, cranes, waste-handling facilities, and offices were located at the shipyard. Activities supporting nuclear propulsion systems were performed in accordance with the requirements and authority of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP), a joint DOE and US Department of Navy program responsible for all activities relating to naval nuclear propulsion. Charleston Naval Shipyard closed in April 1996.

In October 1995 Charleston Marine Manufacturing Corp. [CMMC] signed a five-year sublease with the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority for use of Dry Dock No. 5. In December 1995 the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority signed a lease with Charleston Ship Builders Inc., of Leesburg, FL for Building 218, a large building at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. CSI asked for leases on dry docks 3 and 4 at the shipyard and two large piers nearby.

Metal Trades Inc.

For over 40 years, Metal Trades Inc. has been one of the premier ship repair contractors in the southeastern United States by utilizing successful organizational and management techniques, skilled workforce of ship repair professionals, and integrated planning, scheduling, and testing procedures. Because it is a certified Master Ship Repair Contractor (MSRC) with both the US Army and Navy, it has completed several international jobs gaining valuable experience and knowledge as well as the understanding the importance of being a highly versatile shipyard.

J.E. Corbin, Jr. founded Metal Trades, Inc. in 1962 with only a pickup truck, a welding machine, and years of metal fabricating experience. Initially, Metal Trades' primary business function was the fabrication of heavy steel and sheet metal. Today, Metal Trades, Inc. (MTI) not only has one of the largest sheet metal and steel fabrication shops in South Carolina, but it also has a State of the Art sandblasting and painting facility as well as a newly renovated machine shop capable of custom machining and equipment repair. For over four decades, MTI has been one of the premier ship repair contractors in the southeastern United States and holds a Master Ship Repair agreement with both the US Army and Navy.

Metal Trades, a heavy steel and sheet manufacturer that occupies almost 500,000 square feet at the former Charleston Naval Shipyard and a ship-repair facility in Hollywood, is thriving. The company, which has clients all over the world, got into the manufacturing business when the Naval Base and Shipyard were ordered closed in the early 1990s. President Rusty Corbin saw an opportunity for his company to expand its horizons. Now, manufacturing makes up about 90 percent of its work.

Now, with over 125 employees in two locations situated on the Intra-Coastal Waterway, Metal Trades has the knowledge, workmanship, and capability to complete your job on time, within budget, and ship it anywhere in the world. From steel fabrication, sheet metal fabrication, custom machining, piping, electronics, sand blasting and painting, to dry docking and ship repair, our highly trained technicians and project managers are dedicated to providing the highest quality service and products available.

Metal Trades, Inc., a locally owned ship repair and steel fabrication company located in North Charleston and Yonges Island, has signed a five-year lease, with three successive five-year option periods to provide safe docking for six of the seventy-two vessels which make up the Ready Reserve Force for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Metal Trades completed a five-year lease agreement with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) for the same six Ready Reserve Force vessels. They are "RORO" vessels meaning heavy cargo can roll on / roll off the ships via ramps. These ships are providing a significant increase to the U.S. Navy's cargo fleet in providing sealift support to United States and coalition forces.

The ships of the Ready Reserve Force are maintained by MARAD in various states of readiness to be deployed as the Department of Transportation sees fit. They are manned by only 10 crew members at a reduced operating status to help maintain the ship. "The ships are in a four or five day readiness status, which means they have to be ready to move out within that time frame at the Government's request," states Russell Corbin, President of Metal Trades, Inc. "The ships are moored at three piers located in the Charleston Naval Complex where they remain under tight security preventing unauthorized personnel from getting within 100 feet of the ship's hull." Metal Trades is currently upgrading the piers to withstand hurricane force winds so the vessels can remain docked during heavy storms.

The ships also affect local repair and utility companies as the maintenance can generate substantial business for them. "We estimate that each ship spends approximately $2 million per year on repairs and utilities for a total of an estimated $12 million for the local economy" adds Mr. Corbin. "We have a separate crew dedicated to work solely on these ships and they keep us busy year round."

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:45:30 ZULU