Editor’s note: This report has been updated to clarify the locations of facilities listed in an updated version of the maritime project.
LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s been over a year since we heard anything new about a proposed Naval maritime project that would include a facility in Lordstown.
Known as the Lordstown-Lorain Project, the Bartlett Maritime plan includes a ship component and stocking facility that would be connected to operations at a facility in Lorain.
CEO Capt. Edward Bartlett has said there is an abundance of skilled labor in the Great Lakes region to fill the jobs. He issued an update on the proposed plan this week following the June 2023 Congressional Research Service Report showing 37% of the US Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine force is unavailable for operation, Bartlett said, which is the crux of his proposal for the Ohio maritime project.
“This is far above the objective of 20%,” Bartlett said. “It’s almost double the number of ships laid up for maintenance than planned.”
The Lordstown facility would be used to stock all material and rotatable pool equipment and then for assembling ship overhaul “kits” of all equipment and material needed for a planned overhaul. This ready-to-install equipment and material will be shipped to each overhaul shipyard and be there before the ship arrives for overhaul.
Lorain would be the ship component overhaul, repair, remanufacturing and testing facility.
A proposed new shipyard in the plan has moved from Lorain to Charleston, South Carolina, and will come after the Ohio facilities are well underway, Bartlett said.
Bartlett said the shipyard was moved in the updated plan because of the challenges associated with moving submarines through the St. Lawrence Seaway and they cannot submerge for testing in the Great Lakes.
Bartlett’s proposal identified a need and then offers a solution to the Navy’s maintenance problem, unlike some other solicited contract proposals. Bartlett Maritime submitted its original plan on January 21, 2022, to the US Navy and then an update last month, but so far, it has been unanswered. Bartlett said he believes the company should have been awarded the contract by now and that it is well past time to move beyond “thinking about it.”
“We think the delay may be tied up, partially, with turnover of senior leadership within the Navy,” Barlett said. “There are approximately 300 senior flag officers, admirals, in the Navy whose promotions and reassignments have been put on hold in the Senate.”
If the contract is awarded, and Barlett said that could happen at any time, it would be six months of planning before any construction begins, but after that, it would take about 18 months to get the Lordstown facility built.
Barlett says he has support from Rep. David Joyce and Senator Sherrod Brown, and while congressional approval is not needed for the project, Bartlett said support from local lawmakers including Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill is imperative.
Hill said that he has been getting regular updates from Bartlett and says the project fulfills a large need in the US Navy.
“We are still a viable project but unfortunately, government sometimes doesn’t work too fast,” Hill said. “There is a need to get the Naval fleet upgraded, retrofitted or replaced, and it’s been there for a while”
Bartlett said this would be considered a large-scale contract for the Department of Defense if it’s awarded.