The St. Johns River shipyard at Jacksonville, Florida, was established in 1942, being constructed by a local ship repair firm which combined with a New York firm of contractors to build this southernmost East Coast yard.
The plans for construction here closely followed those adopted by the Marinship yard, this being a layout known as a 'horizontal yard with a turning flow.' Its basis was that the transit of steel and components was parallel to the shoreline until it reached the head of the ways. Then it turned and flowed across the assembly platens down to the shipways. There was, in fact, no duplicated transit of materials - it was a straight flow, although not in a straight line. This form of yard layout
was generally used when inland expansion was not practicable and growth had to be spread along the shoreline.
In August 1942 the Maritime Commission offered rewards for suggested improvements to efficiency. All suitable suggestions were shared between the yards and by the end of 1944 the overall savings to the Commission amounted to some $45 million and thirty-one million man-hours. In this drive for reductions in cost, the St. Johns River yard ranked second in total savings.
As with most types of war material, the profits from wartime
shipbuilding, taking into account the fact that many contracts were not re-negotiable, were always the subject of criticism and shipbuilders were frequently singled out for attack because many of them operated plants owned by the government. At a Congress hearing of 'Investigations in Shipyard Profits' in 1946 it was reported that from a total investment of only $23 million by shipyard operators, profits had totalled $356 million. Also in these hearings one of the Kaiser companies was alleged to have
made a profit of 11,600 per cent; Bethlehem Fairfield was charged with a profit of a mere 1,200 per cent. In the extreme case, the private interests in the St. Johns River company supposedly made 50,000 per cent on an investment of only $400. However, all these figures were strongly contested by the builders, whose sound basis of argument was that they had backed their efforts with all their resources and that putting their specialized know-how into the new companies was sufficient
justification for profits.
Liberty ship output: 82 vessels, at an average cost of $2,100,000 each.
|USMC Numbers||Yard Numbers|
| 1193-1222 || 1-30|
| 2467-2518 || 31-82|
World War II Construction Records of St Johns River Shipbuilding Company