Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro joined Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King for a Portsmouth Naval Shipyard tour and ceremony breaking ground for a dry dock modernization project earlier this month. Courtesy photo

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery paid out $671 million in civilian payroll to workers in 2020, a majority of who live in Maine and collectively, hundreds in the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach region and in the Kennebunks.

According to figures released a week ago by Seacoast Shipyard Association, a $14.7 million civilian payroll was paid out to 193 Biddeford workers; $10.1 million to 129 workers in Saco, $9 million to 106 workers in Kennebunk; $5.4 million to 66 workers in Arundel; $1.9 million to 26 workers in Old Orchard Beach and $682,000 to nine workers who live in Kennebunkport.

In all, 4,618 of the shipyard’s 7,639 civilian employees live in Maine, and most of those live in York County, according to the SSA. In all, the Maine workers were paid $364 million in 2020. In 2019, 4,505 Maine civilian employees earned $339 million.

While most PNSY employees live in Maine, there are 3,646 who live in New Hampshire, 385 in Massachusetts, and 300 in other states.

The total civilian payroll  in 2020 was  up from $595 million in 2019 and the shipyard continues to hire — applications for its apprentice program close Oct. 18.

There was a $48 million military payroll in 2020, up from $45.5 million in 2019.

The total economic impact of the shipyard was $933 million in 2020, SSA said in its impact statement, down from $1.1 billion in 2019. In all, the shipyard purchased $123 million in goods and services — about the same as in 2019, and $106 million in contracted public works services in 2020, down from $395 million in 2019.

The annual news of the economic impact of the 221-year-old shipyard came a couple of weeks after U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King toured PNSY with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and broke ground for the multi-mission Dry Dock #1 modernization project. The $1.7 billion contract was awarded for the construction project last month, and work is expected to be completed by June 2028.

King and Collins said the dry dock, as currently configured, can accommodate only Los Angeles-class submarines, and would be obsolete in 2030 when the LA class subs are retired.

According to a statement from the Naval Sea Systems Command, the seven-year project, part of the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program will modernize the dry dock, creating an addition within the existing flood basin area, as well as new concrete floors, walls, pump systems, caissons, and other mechanical and electrical utilities, enhancing shipyard’s ability to handle multiple Los Angeles-class and Virginia-class submarines.

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