Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The impressive growth of the Soviet Merchant Marine during the past two decades. and its anticipated future expansion have given rise to questions concerning the likely future impact of that fleet on world shipping and the relative importance of maritime commerce to the Soviet Union itself. U.S. owners and regulatory bodies have, along with other Western owners and shipping bodies, consistently pointed an accusing finger at the Soviets for attempting to capture more than a fair share of general cargo tonnage in the world liner market. Charges of predatory Soviet rate cutting practices have been widely advertised by American operators concerned with the growing presence of Soviet carriers in the highly competitive liner trades. At the same time, such claims are made with little or no reference to the mushrooming of the flags of convenience liner fleet, the comparative rates of growth of other merchant shipping powers, and the added value of the West's hugely dominant cellular container ship fleet.This study examines the economic and political roles of the Soviet Union's Merchant Marine, and will address why and to what extent Soviet shipping has expanded into the U.S.liner trades. Key variables in Soviet merchant ship acquisition, maritime trade policy, and future behavior in this context are also explored and developed.